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The Difference Between AI and Deep Learning—And Why You Need Both

on Monday, 01 May 2017. Posted in Blog

The Difference Between AI and Deep Learning—And Why You Need Both

(Also posted on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/difference-between-ai-deep-learningand-why-you-need-both-antonatos)

If you were to name the buzzword of 2017 in the tech space, artificial intelligence would definitely be at the top of the list. AI has already made its way into our smartphones, homes, and gadgets, and it continues to transform other sectors of society like ecommerce, healthcare, and more. It’s the next “big thing” in tech, just like mobile platforms have been in the past decade, and internet-based platforms in the decade before that. AI is such a big deal, in fact, that just recently, eBay’s CEO Devin Wenig said “If you don’t have an AI strategy you are going to die in the world that’s coming.” 

AI may get all the buzz in the industry, but what most people don’t recognize is what’s really behind the rise in AI—and that’s Deep Learning. 

What’s Deep Learning, Anyway?

Deep Learning is what goes on behind the scenes to make the AI we use on our devices, gadgets, and in our homes possible. In technical terms, it’s defined as a class of machine learning algorithms based on learning multiple levels of features or representations of the data. Experts refer to this “artificial neural networks” with huge amounts of data in hierarchal representation. 

It’s called “deep” learning because it’s structured in many different layers, and these layers build on each other to interpret sensory data for a given output. In other words, it takes data like images, sounds, text, etc. and processes it through series of these hierarchal layers to produce the output that we ask for. If you’re interested the in-depth explanation, here’s a great resource

Examples of Deep Learning you might already be familiar with are things like facial recognition in photos or sentiment analysis in text (like you might see on Facebook). But the potential applications for Deep Learning are practically endless and are applicable in practically every sector—from manufacturing and automotive, to communications, security, finance, and more. 

Why Having a Deep Learning Strategy is Important

Having an AI strategy is great—and will be a necessity to keep up with the market in the near future. But without a Deep Learning strategy, your AI strategy won’t be able to keep up. It’s the advances in Deep Learning that produces that improvements in AI we see and use on a daily basis. Big names like Google are already diving in to improving their use of Deep Learning technology—just in the past 2 years the deep learning used in their apps has grown exponentially. And companies who want to stay ahead of the game will need to follow suit, too. Now is the time to start getting involved with creating and growing your Deep Learning strategy rather than waiting for the technology to catch up to what you hope or need it to be able to accomplish. Its algorithms are improving so quickly that starting sooner rather than later means you can take advantage of these improvements as they develop, rather than playing catch up after the fact. 

Where Do You Start?

Before jumping into the AI space just because it’s “the next big thing,” it’s smart to determine which tasks it would be most efficient for. Despite the advances in AI we’ve seen just in the past year or two, it still isn’t the most efficient choice for all processes. In some instances, human intervention is still the best option. If your business has tasks that:

·      Are repetitive

·      Are high volume

·      Follow patterns 

·      Require limited judgement

·      Have a low cost of mistake

Then these are the best places to start implementing a Deep Learning and AI strategy, while leaving the more complex tasks to humans. That’s not to say however, that both AI and human intervention can’t work together, though. 

For example, in the marketing space, AI can help personalize offers to consumers using micro segmentation and customization, but decisions about marketing strategy that will heavily impact revenue or market share are probably best left to humans. In the customer service space, AI systems are great for creating better responses to transactional requests, but decisions for that customer still need to be based on empathy which means human intervention is still a necessity. In sales, AI chat bots can be effective as aids to the sales process, but an actual sales person will still be much more in influencing buyer decision, especially with high ticket B2B scenarios. 

However, no matter the sector, AI is sure to disrupt industries more than we can probably even foresee today since it becomes more advance by the day. As an example, scientists in the U.K at the University of Essex and experts at Orbital Media just rolled out a new AI system to aid the NHS in providing customized medical advice and tips to patients. It’s easing the burden on doctors, helping people with self-treatable and minor issues find solutions to their problems without requiring human intervention.

 

Negative Conversations in the Workplace: 3 Tips for Staying Positive

on Tuesday, 09 August 2016. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Negative Conversations in the Workplace:  3 Tips for Staying Positive

In previous post, we discussed the benefits of choosing positivity in the workplace and how it can make a big difference not just in your work life, but in your personal life as well. While it’s one thing to choose a positive outlook for yourself at work, unfortunately, not everyone in your work environment will make the same choice.  In fact, you might find that you’re in the minority of colleagues who choose positivity, which means you may be spending a good portion of your interactions dealing with negativity of other co-workers, especially in conversation.

Whether it’s official business matters around the conference table or casual conversation in the break room, you’re bound to encounter negative conversations at some point during your day. These could be directed at you personally or could be just about office frustration, gossip, or other situations. Whatever the subject matter is, however, it can be difficult to not let this negativity turn your day (or week) upside down. Here are some important points to keep in mind the next time you encounter a negative conversation at work that seems tricky to navigate:

Remember You’re In Control

The biggest mistake you can make when encountering a negative conversation is forgetting that you still have control. You have control over how you react, how you choose to steer the conversation once you’re involved, and most of all, how you choose to let the conversation affect you once it has ended. You don’t have to let other people’s actions or words sideline your efforts of focusing on positivity.

Refrain

Sometimes your first reaction to a comment, question, or conversation won’t always be the best response—especially when this negativity is directed to you personally.  Your first instinct for a response to a critical comment made towards you might be to act defensive or to send another negative comment back their way, but this is far from the most productive choice. In other instances, you may find yourself in the midst of a conversation that involves office gossip or backbiting. In either case, remember to refrain. Refrain from saying what may immediately come to mind as a response, or in other instances, refrain from getting involved in the conversation at all if you can tell that it’s not headed in a positive direction.

Redirect

Refraining from responding with your first reaction to a negative comment doesn’t always mean that you just have to not respond at all. With a bit of emotional intelligence, you can effectively redirect a negative comment directed towards you or even an entire conversation centered around negativity.

If someone in the workplace makes a condescending, attacking, or negative comment towards you personally, you can still stand up for yourself while redirecting their negativity. For example, if someone makes a comment toward you about what they view as a negative trait (i.e. being stubborn, incompetent, looking for a argument, etc), redirect that comment by clarifying or restating their negative wording, such as saying, “It’s unfortunate that you feel that way, since that is not my intention,” or “I’m a very determined person, but I don’t consider myself stubborn.”

If the negative conversation isn’t directed towards you specifically, you still have the opportunity to redirect it toward a more positive place depending on how you choose to get involved. If you find yourself involved in an office conversation that is centered on complaining, gossiping, or backbiting, try to offer a different perspective that may help change the outlook of those involved. It’s possible to offer verbal validation for their feelings while still helping them see a different, more positive picture of the situation they may be frustrated with.

When it comes down to it, the key to navigating any negative conversation is to simply think before you speak or act. Don’t go with your first-impulse reaction, and think about how what you say or how you get involved will affect the conversation. With the right foresight, you can be a big influencer of positivity for other colleagues in your workplace, and in the meantime, you’ll be happier, too. 

Taking summer off from blogging

on Wednesday, 11 May 2016. Posted in Blog

Taking summer off from blogging

 

For now, let me tell you that I’ve been reluctant to take an extended break despite the fact that I live in Montreal, Quebec where winter lasts for many months. I thought the guilt would eat me up.

But after careful self-reflection, I have come to realize that taking a break is just what I need.

I need to take advantage of the nice weather while it’s here.

I need to rejuvenate myself.

I need to spend more time with my family.

I need a break from social media.

All that time spent away from blogging will spark some new ideas and make it easy to set up my regular blogging in September.

Thank you to all readers of the blog for your understanding.

Integration to Fusion Accouning Hub from your EBS or PeopleSoft Ledger (Co-Existence Strategy)

on Tuesday, 02 February 2016. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture, Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

Integration to Fusion Accouning Hub from your EBS or PeopleSoft Ledger (Co-Existence Strategy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Co-existence approach implies that a customer is not upgrading but they will keep adding Fusion Application solutions (see diagram about Fusion Topology). In that case customers will always look for opportunities that Fusion brings that address their critical needs while minimizing the risk to their current Applications investment. This is the focus of the co-existence adoption model.

A question that has been coming often lately is about integrating multiple non Oracle financial systems to fusion accounting hub. Below is a visual architecture example How to implement Fusion Accounting Hub by utilizing your current as is systems - multiple sources with different formats and loading it with SQL Loader. into FAH. The main advantage of this approach is that you can continue using your E-Business Suite or PeopleSoft applications for your procurement, supply chain, payables, receivables without disruptions.

 

Below is an example of an integration with multiple inputs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy New Year 2016!

on Wednesday, 30 December 2015. Posted in Blog

A Happy New Year 2016!

 

Hope this New Year brings, new hopes and aspirations, Along with the zeal and courage to, Keep up with those commitments. Wish you all the best and a Happy New Year filled with health, happiness and prosperity. Have a wonderful 2016!

 

Noticing the Good at Work: How It Can Change Your Life

on Sunday, 29 November 2015. Posted in Blog

Noticing the Good at Work: How It Can Change Your Life

 

 

Over the course of a lifetime, we spend up to 35% of our time at work. When you consider it from that perspective, work becomes more than just a job. It’s a part of your life that affects everything else you do—including who you socialize with, where you live, and what you think about day to day. But unfortunately for the large majority of those in the workforce, their job is the biggest source of stress in their life. This stress can come from everything from the commute, or frustrating co-workers, to strenuous daily tasks, the fear of getting laid off, or having to face the wrath of bosses or clients. Whatever the source of this stress though, study after study has proven that stress leads to very real health problems due to increased cortisol like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Not only that, but it takes a toll on mental health as well.

 

So how can you combat these stressors that you’ll inevitably face every day at work? Well, the answer is fairly simple. Choose to notice the positive parts of your day rather than dwell on the negative.

 

Negativity Changes Your Brain

 

By nature, our brains are wired to register and react to negative emotion. It’s an innate survival tactic that causes our brain to focus only on that negative emotion so we can get away from danger. And while this is useful if you have to run or fight for your life, in an everyday sense, focusing on this negativity can quite literally narrow your mindset. Focusing on the negative emotion causes your brain to shut off the outside world and limit the other options and choices that surround you.

 

It’s easy to let stress at work consume you and occupy most of your thoughts during the day. Oftentimes, it even spills over into conversations with friends, family, or other co-workers where you complain about this negative stress as a way to release it. Unfortunately though, this behavior, over time, can re-wire your brain into only ever seeing or talking about negative events. It can literally re-shape your brain as the synapses for these thoughts grow closer together. So how do you prevent that from happening?

 

How Seeing the Positive Benefits You

 

Positive thinking is a feel-good word that for a lot of people doesn’t carry much weight. Some people may see it as just having a false sense of reality, but research shows that it’s quite the opposite. Choosing positive thoughts over negative and stressful thoughts can help you build skills and see things in a way that those who focus on negative thoughts aren’t able to. Those who continually focus on positive emotions open their mind to more options and sense of possibility, and because of that they develop an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources. Whereas negativity closes off much of the outside world, positivity breeds the development of valuable skills and resources for everyday life that last far longer than the emotion itself.

 

Choosing Positivity At Work

 

While for many, this might be easier said than done, anyone can make the choice to start noticing more positive elements of their work day. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to walk around with a grin on your face all day or never feel stressed about a deadline or project, but it does mean that you’ll need to adopt a different mindset than what you’ll find most people have in the office. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

 

  1. Don’t start your day with a negative attitude – If you walk through the door with a stressed or cynical attitude, your day will most likely continue with those emotions. If you don’t have time to take a few minutes to clear your mind try prayer/meditation in the morning before leaving home, utilize your transit time to take a few deep breaths and listen to music instead of world/business news to clear your mind of any negative expectations for the day.
  2. Don’t let negative emotions fester – As you already know, negative emotions can cause your brain to close off and only focus on that feeling. When a co-worker does something to annoy you or your boss lashes out at you for something that wasn’t your fault, try not to fixate on that experience for the rest of the day. Take a break and do something to take your mind off of those negative feelings so you can get back to the real task at hand.
  3. Pay Attention to Your Conversation Topics-In office culture, it’s quite common for co-workers to bond over complaining about things around the work place, whether it’s policies, administration, or environment. This is not only damaging to individual mindsets, but harms office culture as well. Try to notice when you’re quick to jump in on this complaining, and when you catch yourself playing along, make a conscious effort to either re-position the topic or politely excuse yourself.
  4. Write it Down - One of the best ways to solidify a memory is to write it down. Journaling is one of habits of successful people and they use it as a tool to gain insight, record goals, and live a better life. Whether you choose to hand write it or keep a simple file on your computer, make a habit at the end of each day to record three positive things that happened during your work day—even if it just happens to be the delicious lunch you had—and you’ll find yourself having a better attitude when you leave for the day.

 

When it comes down to it, choosing positivity really is a simple choice that pays off big time in the future. Making the conscious effort to notice even the smallest positive elements in your work day helps you have a better attitude about your job, a better outlook on job satisfaction as a whole, and as studies show, even helps you build life skills. Plus, it can even help you live longer as you train your brain to focus on the good instead of the bad, reducing stress levels along with way. With so many benefits that positivity can bring in your life, you really can’t afford not to choose it! Hopefully these simple tips will help you start noticing the good parts of your work day and by making a better workplace for others, we make ourselves better leaders.

 

 ***Also published on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/noticing-good-work-how-can-change-your-life-alex-antonatos?

 

 

7 tips to maximize your Oracle OpenWorld 2015 Conference Experience

on Monday, 28 September 2015. Posted in Blog, Oracle OpenWorld

7 tips to maximize your Oracle OpenWorld 2015 Conference Experience

Less than a month to Oracle OpenWorld, the conference will officially kick off on Sunday, October 25th. The location alone should be enough to get most of you excited. San Francisco is an amazing city to visit. The business and technical content, networking, and after hours social events are just bonuses.

Below are some tips after a decade of regular attendance as a speaker and attendee of Oracle OpenWorld.

1- Book and plan sessions as soon as possible, here is the link to the current Content Catalog list the best ones are "sold out" swiftly. Currently 1600+ sessions are available, plan what you want to learn this year and keep that in mind when registering for the session. Use the target audience information on the left of the catalog.

 list

2- This year’s OpenWorld major themes I will focus

  •       On enterprise cloud solutions and deployment strategies to move your on-premise Oracle applications like Siebel, EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Primavera into the Cloud with a strong option of co-existence. Over 800 sessions on cloud computing!
  •        On a comprehensive enterprise big data solution with, Big Data Appliances, 12c database, NoSQL Database and Big Data SQLData is the lifeblood of most organizations.
  •         IoT – Internet of things this year has lots of new sessions in this area.

         3- Lots of sessions on customer experience: A must see is the state of the art Customer experience lab, here is a sneak peek:

  • lab

4- This years business and technology conference will have a focus on the intersection of cloud, social, and mobile business opportunities.

5- Planning and preparing will be key. Make sure you can write & measure your conference objectives. 

Here are mine:

30% learning (sessions & Oracle headquarters) to help me advise better solutions for my clients

50 % sharing good practices, knowledge sharing with different Oracle clients – these sessions have already been planned and scheduled with the clients in advance date&time confirmed.

10% attending networking events, I plan to grab a coffee in the morning and a well-deserved beer one of the day’s in the afternoon at the Tap and Brew, 

10% Unwind by riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge and visiting Alcatraz.

On my side I am also looking forward to the following Oracle ACE activities during OpenWorld 2015:

  •           Sunday, October 25: Annual Oracle ACE Dinner 7pm-10pm
  •           Monday, October 26: OTN /Partners Meetup, 7-9pm
  •            Wednesday, Oct 28: Bloggers meetup

             6- This year's conference is a month later than usual, bring a great pair of comfortable shoes and dress for colder temperature than usual. 

                 7- Don’t miss Larry’s keynote, usually he provides the big announcements and summarizes well the strategy and themes of this year’s OpenWorld and the ongoing strategy.

             I’ll be there, and you can follow me at @AlexAntonatos. Also you can click on Contact (on the bottom right of the webpage and select schedule a meeting request a 1-1 with me or other Oracle experts in San Francisco.

Feel free to share your Openworld checklist and thoughts on the topic!

 

Have I missed any helpful tips? Leave a comment!

See you in San Francisco,

 

 

 

 

Centralized Documentation for All Oracle Products

on Wednesday, 01 April 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Centralized Documentation for All Oracle Products

I should know get less calls/email on where can i find .... :)

Oracle has centralized all product documentation within the oracle support website.

Once logged in, Select the Knowledge tab and then select online documentation.

My thoughts it's quite simple and intuitive and some other benefits include

- Comprehensive centralized documentation on (https://support.oracle.com), No need for Oracle clients to copy onto internal work repositories.

- Accurate and continuously updated official information all within the same location.

- This easy access to documents supports collaboration between many project users. The centralized location of documents also promotes easy distribution of documents to users on your project.

This action from Oracle, helps simplify the overall customer experience. This type of centralized user design model (one stop shop) is gaining traction and should be part of corporate strategy in helping to simplify corporate processes.

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The Secret to Enterprise Projects: Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

The Secret to Enterprise Projects: Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit

For a lot of people, having to work alongside others to complete any given project is their least favorite part of the job. Teamwork can be difficult, especially if all members involved have very different personalities that sometimes clash. In fact, 97% of employees and executive surveyed believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a project (source).

But usually one of the biggest sources of content when working on a project comes from members becoming more interested in proving their worth by getting credit for their own work, rather than wanting credit for team completion of a project. And really, the truth is that when you stop caring and who gets the credit, you’ll find that working on a project gets much less stressful. Though it might seem counterintuitive, forgetting about who gets the credit for a project will only benefit you as a leader in the long run. Here are 5 reasons why:

Your teammates will enjoy working with you

No one enjoys working with someone who is power hungry or someone who micromanages. Unfortunately for many, teamwork is a necessary evil that dominates the white-collar professional world. According to a recent survey by BusinessWeek, 82% of those surveyed said they depended on partnering with others throughout the day to get their work done. By being the type of team member who is more concerned about the group as a whole, they’ll know that you give them enough room to breathe and develop. Since they don’t feel smothered, it will be much easier for them to follow your advice and requests during the course of a project.

Team efficiency will be boosted

When it comes to team projects, time management is key. And the stress of deadlines is amplified even more when team members don’t agree, can’t get along, or just simply don’t work well together. By focusing on the greater good and helping the cohesion of your group, you’ll find that time coordination will be amplified and your team will finish more work in a given time frame.

Team moral will soar

When people like who they’re working with, team projects can really be an enjoyable experience. On the other hand, team projects can be extremely disappointing if there isn’t cohesion within a group. When surveyed, 86% of employees and executives sited lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (source). Making an effort to be more of a team player and less concerned about individual will help you boost team moral. All members involved will be energized and ready to face any obstacles, ultimately resulting in a positive experience and a successful project outcome.

Their skills will develop more

Because your team members know that they can shine with their individual skills, they’ll do their best in developing them. They won’t stifle their creativity or productivity due to reservations they have about potential reactions from their team.

They’ll stick more to your team

In the business world, a team that works well together on project is as good as gold. Being the type of team member people like to work with means that you’ll have team members who last longer and actually want to stick around to work with you. In the end, you’ll have even more success as a group as you continue to develop the synergy you helped start in the first place.

As Henry Ford stated, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” And this entire process is dependent on that team sharing a common goal, using their individual talents to work toward that goal, and using those talents and skills in unison. Worrying less about who is getting the credit and more about the success of the entire group is the first step to achieving that.

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Here are some other recent posts, I've wriiten on Linkedin:

How Today's Workforce has Changed the Rules and Lens of Engagement

Optimism Why It’s Important

3 Lessons We Can Learn From the Homeless This Holiday Season

Corporations are Transforming into Professional Sports Teams-Data is the Game Changer

Let's Fix It: Deliver Your Business Project, or You're Just Another Person With an Opinion

Avoid a Public Speaking Meltdown with These 10 Tips

Minimize your TV watching, watch TED instead

on Tuesday, 27 January 2015. Posted in Blog

Minimize your TV watching, watch TED instead

 

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. A great global success.

 

The below hyperlink wll bring you to the top 20 most popular (all great inspiring videos! I strongly recommend, watch all of them)

http://www.ted.com/playlists/171/the_most_popular_talks_of_all

The official website is http://www.ted.com

Miinimize your TV watching, watch TED instead.

 

 

 

 

 

A Conceptual Data Model (aka BIM) is Not Technical - It's about clarifying ...

on Sunday, 28 December 2014. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

A Conceptual Data Model (aka BIM) is Not Technical - It's about clarifying ...

                                                                                                                                             the business language describing the problem domain so that everyone understand exactly what is meant by the model. And this is something we need to put together independent of the systems or technology— this becomes a road map that helps determine the BIM (Business Information Model) and this output is going to be in the process definition.

 

A conceptual data model identifies the highest-level relationships between the different entities with no technical information like primary keys or attributes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The figure below is an example of a conceptual data model.

cmmodel

 

The conceptual model helps breakdown for the business stakeholder the planning and to start top-down modeling to do a model driven architecture (MDA).

 

In my view, every enterprise project needs conceptual data models or Business Information Models.Why? 

 

  • It describes exactly the information needs of the business.
  • It facilitates discussion.
  • It helps to prevent mistakes, misunderstanding.
  • It forms important “ideal system” documentation.
  • It forms a sound basis for physical database design.
  • It helps in forming sound logical data and functional models.

 

*** Happy New year , wish you all a great, healthy and extremely happy 2015.

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

on Tuesday, 18 November 2014. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

In my view, the top 10 reasons most companies move towards a centralized CRM (customer relationship management) system

  1. Move to get a more complete view of customers
  2. Automate previously manual and repetitive processes
  3. Make business processes consistent across the company
  4. Improve the quality and velocity of data.  Enter once.  Use many times.
  5. Replace of various systems/databases by one system
  6. Improve sales force efficiency, forecasting
  7. Deploying CRM enables corporations to become more customer-centric with their business processes
  8. Better user access to data and instant mobile analytical tools
  9. Improve communication among groups within sales and marketing organizations
  10. Leverages best practices throughout the organization 

A CRM system provides a one face to the customer and a 360 degree view of sales and opportunities, by establishing the reflex of having a common customer ID across data dimensions, you can provide visibility to all of the customer-related activity across the enterprise.

Tip #1 Dont focus on functional requirements

When focusing on functional requirements take into account all Tier 1 CRM, share the same functionalities, provide a better scoring to the vendor that is already deployed internally, for example if your company is more Oracle centric select Oracle if its SAP centric select SAP, this will help reduce the risks related to integration. 

Tip #2 Biggest risk will always be the data migration

crmdatamigration

          In a CRM project, put a focus on the data migration, bad data is the number 1 reason for project failures and overruns: 

     Main Pitfalls of Converting Bad Data

       Inaccurate report metrics

       Bad information wastes users time and effort

       Marketing wastes money and effort pursuing bad prospects

       Understanding your “customer” is impossible

       IT wastes time sifting through information and trying to make sense of it

       Operations has difficulty reconciling data against financial and other backend information

       User get frustrated, you lose valuable buy-in and adoption

Follow a structured approach and limit your initial scope of your data migration to converting:

 Accounts, Contacts, Addresses, Opportunity, Products, Notes, Attachments and Territories.

   Tip # 4 Data Cleansed then Loaded into CRM

   Define key systems where data will be cleansed and then convert to CRM

   Do the same with the transactional data, that will be loaded into CRM and which loaded into the BI for analytics

Tip#5 Setup CRM Center of Excellence 

      Provide one level 3 support group for all user queries, incidents, and changes requested.   Across all business unit lines.
     With established partnership for software break & fix, establish business-oriented service level agreements for availability, time to respond, and bandwidth/capacity for changes.

      I would say that the Achilles heel to all IT systems especially in CRM systems is user-friendliness. If in doubt, use the KISS method'Keep It Simple Stupid'. Do you have 2 ways you could do something? Always work with the simpler of the two. It's much easier to add a bit of detail rather than trying to take away from an overly complicated process.

 

 

Oracle Business Flow: Project Expenditure to Revenue Recognition

on Friday, 17 October 2014. Posted in Oracle Project Suite, Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

Oracle Business Flow: Project Expenditure to Revenue Recognition

 

 email15-oct

In this article I share the Oracle business flow: Project expenditure to revenue recognition business process with the associated enterprise roles. The Oracle Business Flows— Enable you to relate your business requirements to the E-Business Suite functionality. I recommend these flow models to assist you with the project scope and increase end-user  awareness of the project. It also establishes a common understanding of the integrations required to deliver the project.

Be aware not all consultants have this information, E-Business Suite accelerators are available from Oracle Consulting and other approved partner channels.

Slide1

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Get rid of the lengthy COTS Feasibility Study, Interesting facts & data to make you think twice

on Friday, 30 May 2014. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

Get rid of the lengthy COTS Feasibility Study, Interesting facts & data to make you think twice

 

 

 

 

                                                       Feasibility studies permit planners to outline their ideas on paper before implementing them. This can reveal errors in project design before their implementation negatively affects the project. Applying the lessons gained from a feasibility study can significantly lower the project risks. In my view feasibility studies should never be longer than 4 months, no matter how big your project is let me explain:

The Feasibility study is not a sales pitch, way too often we focus on the COTS (Commercial off the shelf ) product, In my view, this is a fundamental mistake all these products work and are already integrated (PeopleSoft, Oracle EBS, Fusion,JDE, SAP, Siebel) it does not make sense any longer with the vast information out they’re to be completing Feasibility studies with full system analysis like Oracle or SAP that last longer than 4 months.

Why? I have yet to hear in my career that Oracle or SAP cannot perform a certain business function if not vanilla or with a RICE(Report-Interface-Conversion-Extension). Especially know that everyone has adopted a SOA more Open based Architecture.

Below is an email I received by an individual that gave me approval to print this email onto this article, he shares his experience about their feasibility study:

From: **************************************
Sent: ************************
To: Alex Antonatos [mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]
Subject: RE: Oracle Fusion vs PSFT

 

Hi Alex,

Great read on your Fusion article, just to let you know we just performed a 10 Month feasibility study on PeopleSoft or Fusion and we came up with the similar conclusions as per your article.

The only thing that bothers me, we could of donated that money to a worthy cause. I think we spent almost a million dollars if you tally up the employees like myself hourly rate and some consultants that were with us.

I have been in the IT field for 25 years, and the end game is always the same ;consultant come in make the money and leave after 3-6 months to the next project and the employees get the s**t for why we spent so much money, and the employees are stuck to show the value add of the 10 month feasibility project.

On a side note, I really enjoy your blog and thank you for the whitepapers.

 

Best Regards,

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In the case above, we all sense some passion&frustration, I dont blame him they spent over 1 million dollars to go ahead to say that PeopleSoft 9 or Fusion can integrate to the current landscape of systems. Same answer as day 1. They’re study presented risks and returns associated with the project so the prospective managers can evaluate them. Again in their case they also believed their Finance and HRMS systems where so different compared to the norm and fell into a sales pitch of functionalities.

Here are some more examples of long feasibility studies that went the wrong direction:

1) ERP implementation , business functions inability of Hershey to ship candys for Halloween (The Feasibility study was 10 months)

2) ERP Implementation Nike Losing major shoe orders (The Feasibility study was 9 months)

3) Foxmeyers failure to process financial information and orders (The Feasibility study was 11 months)

4) BSkyB (BSY) got a 318 Million pound settlement in 2010 for a COTS system that did not work (The Feasibility study was 13 months)

5) UK Government scraps a 12 Billion National Program to provide integrated electronic records (15 Month Feasibility)

6) State of California spent 300 Million dollars in implementing a COTS software (12 Month feasibility study)

Here are some practical tips and guidelines:

  1. Use social media, an example when i wrote the article about Fusion and asked people to share their go live experiences i received 87 emails in 72 hours. These answers helped me understand quickly the different strengths and weaknesses of the product.
  2. In my view, The acceptable level for any business feasibility of a COTS package should not be more than 4 months, but the appropriate risk rate will vary for each individual depending on their personal work situation. Less experience teams usually require more time to complete a COTS Feasibility study.
  3. No SALES Pitch, focus on the integration, economic viability and operational zing of the project
  4. Don’t expect perfection in a feasibility study this is the main reason it should be short and done quickly.
  5. Bottom lines there are dozens of reasons why a feasibility study can't be done in a shorter timeframe, but perhaps only one why it can. It’s up to you to decide whether you are going to search for a way to do it, or regularly settle for a handy excuse. Some companies fall into the trap and use the feasibility study more like a sales pitch . Don’t do it!.

I am a big fan of the feasibility study but it should be a quick study and low cost exercise to determine if your COTS project (Commercial Off the Shelf Product) makes sense to adopt it within your organization.

 

 

 

Interpersonal communication - 10 tips

on Monday, 14 April 2014. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Interpersonal communication - 10 tips

 

 

 

                                                                       One of the hardest things to do for all of us is to explore communication with an open mind - the key to influencing is to first understand the person you are influencing. Ask lots of open, neutral questions and listen actively to the answers. Different views, well managed, increase creativity and innovation. Avoid compromise try to aim for true collaboration.

 

On a lighter note, there must be other's who are managing with us because of our different point of view. Having different point of view is not bad, it's the most natural thing. No two persons are the same so definitely there will be difference of opinion. With my experience I have observed, if one is confidant & have strong conviction about the subject, then it's not that difficult to convince other's. One has to be patient & respectful for other's opinion then only one can win other's mind and persuade also with facts and data. By the way having discussion with different perspective always brings out something new & helps most of the time.

We can always agree to disagree but in the end at least you will have a great debate and learn something new, what ever that might be.

Quick recap

1. Allow them to have it
2. Be curious about it
3. Learn something about yourself from it
4. Be open minded enough to consider changing your view
5. Think about how they could add benefit because of their view
6. Relax (Do not lose your cool...sometimes not that easy)
7. Look for shared ground
8. Find the shared ground
9. Use the shared ground to build rapport and trust
10. Consider "leading" rather than "managing

 

Like usual share your thoughts on this topic

Tips on the Oracle EBS R12 Upgrade Dilemma

on Thursday, 03 April 2014. Posted in Enterprise Software , Business Analysis, Blog

Tips on the Oracle EBS R12 Upgrade Dilemma

If taking away choices is a bad thing, then giving more choices must be good, right? Not necessarily for all Oracle clients. Too many choices can overwhelm a company. I think Oracle`s strategy is a fair one provide customers with a wide selection of products of a certain type to increase customer satisfaction and meet their unique requirements. After all, we all do it at the supermarket, when they provide us 20 different brands of toast, we are more likely to find a brand that suits our taste and meets our families’ requirements.

Any EBS upgrade is a nerve-racking situation for any entity. Let`s go directly into the subject. Before you begin your upgrade follow these 5 steps:

1. Ask what you are looking to really achieve with the upgrade if you keep your options as open as possible.

By doing this, you can see that the time and stress invested to keep a wide range of choice isn’t likely to outweigh the benefit of possibly just saving a few dollars upgrade or re-implement R12. Do a full analysis conventional upgrade or re-Implementation of R12.

2. Once you’ve made your decision, stick with it.

Don’t allow yourself a “safety net” of being able to take it back or swap just because you’ve changed your mind. Know that this is the right choice for your organization, right now. Stick with your decision all 3 Oracle versions are valid – The decision has No wrong answer. Stop talking and execute Oracle will support you with any of the 3 versions you select.

3. Forget about the other “EBS versions”.

They’re will always be someone that will question or doubt that decision, don’t dwell on how wonderful the things may have been if you selected the other version. Move ahead, many companies i see spend lots of time and money on this point Don’t.

4. Ask: do you really need it anyway?

If you already own several pairs of boots, how will another pair affect your happiness? Focus on what value the upgraded EBS version provides to your company, rather than just upgrading because of Oracle`s roadmap.

5. Trust yourself.

You know what you really need, and what is right for you. Be happy with your choice when you’ve made it, and know that your company will not cease to exist if, by the slightest chance, this was the wrong choice.

When looking to upgrade your EBS release below is the timeframe with the support policies for 11.5 and 12.1

 timeline

For people that are not familiar with Oracle support policies, Each new version of EBS when launched the first 5 years is called premier and support costs are defined when software is purchased, the next 3 years are named Extended and an extra support cost is usually added.

For example EBS 12.2 that was released GA (General availability) in 2013, premier support ends in 2018.

Decision process for the R12 EBS Upgrade

Lets go to the heart of the question upgrade to which version, Here are my thoughts on the topic:

Upgrading to Release 12.1.3 : This EBS version is currently used by thousands of customers and will provide you the least surprises. The upgrade path is well known and provides the least risk, also if your only requirement is to upgrade for the cheapest short term cost and no new functionality is required for your organization 12.1.3 is your best bet. Currently the majority of EBS customers are on this version and you should be good for the next 4 years.

Upgrading to Release 12.2.2 : Requires to upgrade to 12.2 and then install the 12.2.2 release pack , this version includes lots of new features Online patching which allows the E-Business Suite to be updated while the system is still running and users entering transactions, but lots of new feature here is the link to all new business and technical features : E-Business Suite 12.2 Release Content Document (Note 1302189.1)

Upgrading to Release 12.2.3 : Requires to upgrade to EBS 12.2 and then to install the 12.2.3 release pack, one of the many features of 12.2.3 is to be able to change the new-look and feel of the user interface by changing the below profile :

Screenshot of the profile option that you need to change

 look and feel profile

One of the multiple look and feels available within R12.2.3

screenshot of new UI

For a full complete list of 12.2.3 features, it can be found at the following hyperlink Oracle E-Business Suite Product Specific Release Notes, Release 12.2.3 (Doc ID 1605928.1)

To conclude, my opinion upgrading to the latest version minus 1 is always the safest upgrade. If you think about it most bugs get resolved in the next version following the one the bug was identified.

Like usual share your thoughts & the approach that is or was followed at your company.

 

Sharing tips in developing team work plans

on Thursday, 20 March 2014. Posted in Project Management, Blog

Sharing tips in developing team work plans

 The project manager determines whether any project management activities should be included in the team workplan. Be specific when defining the skills, background, and experience required for each task. This allows you to make more accurate work assignments (role) to team members and minimizes problems caused by assigning a team member to inappropriate responsibilities.

·          Do not create artificial contract deadlines that are actually target dates. Dates that are deadlines should be specified in the contract. Dates that are not in the contract are typically target dates, which are objectives or goals that may move.

Critical Path Versus Critical Chain Approach

·          Workplan development follows either a Critical Chain or a Critical Path method.

-       Critical Chain Approach—Focuses on the final deliverable due date for the project rather than on interim due dates. Activity durations are estimated with no safety factor or time buffer included. Instead, Project Management incorporates safety into the Workplan to protect the final due date.

-       Critical Path Approach—Project duration is driven by the interim activities that must be completed, the availability of resources, and safety factors built in to each task or activity.

·          The Critical Chain approach is concerned with the latest date that a task or activity may be started to meet the final due date of the project. 

·          In the Critical Path approach, a project start date must be determined. If a start activity is not obvious, create an activity entitled "project start" or "initiate project" to indicate that the project does have a real start time. 

·          In a Critical Path approach, resource availability affects the duration of tasks, milestones, and the overall project completion date. The more resources available, the shorter the durations. In the Critical Chain approach, the required completion date determines the resources required. If resource availability is limited, the scope of work must be re-evaluated and possibly reduced to meet the completion date. In either case, the resource model is updated to reflect actual resource assignments.

·          In the Critical Path approach, identify activities that can begin immediately (that is, they have no predecessors), and make the start activity their predecessor.

·          Using the activity list and dependency information, sequence the remaining activities. A simple activity-sequencing example is shown below.

Activity Sequencing 1

Activity ID

Activity

Immediately Preceding Activity

1         

Project A

 

2         

    Initiate project

-

3         

    Assign project manager

2

4         

    Establish constraints

2

5         

    Develop project schedule

3, 4

6         

    Prepare estimate expenses

4, 5

7         

    Assign resources

5, 6

8         

    Distribute project documents

7

 ·          The same information is presented in the Microsoft Project example, as shown below; however, Microsoft Project automatically draws the precedence diagram.

Activity Sequencing 2

projectplan

·          Identify the finish activity for the project. For example, include a milestone called "project end." Every activity in the project needs to be completed before this milestone is reached.

Workplan Standards and Guidelines

·          Review any guidelines, practices, or procedures for preparing a Workplan. Verify that the WBS is in line with the Project Charter, and update sections of the Project Charter as necessary.

·          The baseline Workplan and framework documents for the standard methodology can be used as a starting point. Also refer to any lessons learned documents and other, similar workplans. Expert advice or opinion is also valuable when performing this step.

Workplan Review

·          Workplan development is an iterative process because the resulting schedule needs to be compared with the scope and other constraints to verify its feasibility.

·          The Workplan should be reviewed frequently. The best project managers continually try to assess what can go wrong and perform up-front analysis on the schedule. Clearly, project constraints and objectives can change; therefore, schedule analysis should be an ongoing activity.

·          Obtain Workplan buy-in from all key team members. In many ways, this is more important than formal approval, because team members who are committed to the Workplan are more likely to put forth the effort required to adhere to it than those who are not.

·          Review of deliverables includes reviewing action items and verifying actions to improve performance, revisiting and refining the Workplan, and acknowledging that the plan meets the expectations of the management team.

·          Reviewers should typically include the project sponsor and the organization. They may also include other organization authorities who have direct influence or need-to-know responsibilities. Reviewers can vary from project to project but should be determined early in the project life cycle.

·          To avoid delays in the overall project schedule, the time allotted for reviewing the Workplan should be formally communicated to the project sponsors before submission for approval.

Please share your thoughts and tips on workplans 

 

  

 

Extract from the Oracle January 2014 Newsletter

on Monday, 03 February 2014. Posted in Blog

Extract from the Oracle January 2014 Newsletter

 

 

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle January 2014 Newsletter, different global experts share their knowledge and enthusiam on Oracle functional and technical topics and a list of new Oracle books currently available:

Tag Cloud

This post written by ACE Director Lucas Jellema explores Data Visualization with an HTML 5 Canvas based Tag Cloud powered by JSON.

Configure OHS mod_wl_ohs.conf

Oracle HTTP Server (OHS) is the Web server component for Oracle Fusion Middleware. It provides a HTTP listener for Oracle WebLogic Server and the framework for hosting static pages, dynamic pages, and applications over the Web. In his blog, Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa describes how to configure Oracle WebTier for Redirecting Purpose.

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos shares his hands on tips for best practices when designing your Oracle financial footprint information using R12, Hyperion and OBI.

Adding Targets and Keeping it Clean

Here is a post describing ACE Director Kellyn Pot'Vin's client's environment that shows just how important it is to ensure your server environment is kept pristine.

"Which Way Do I Go?"

ACE Director Debra Lilley guest posts on the Oracle AppAdvantage Blog and talks about how people are transforming their businesses using Oracle Technology.

Twelve new DBA commands for Oracle 12c

ACE Director Julian Dontcheff share 12 new commands in Oracle 12c that will help DBA's with database administration, consolidation, security and availability features.

ACE Director Markus Eisele's latest posts from his German Heise Blog

- NetBeans and WildFly grow together
- JavaLand Highlights
- Influence Java EE 8 (Survey Part 2)

Seconds_behind_master vs. Absolute slave lag

Read this post by Oracle ACE Shlomi Noach to learn about getting the definite metrics your application can trust.

SOA Governance FAQ

What is SOA Governance? Why do I need it? What are the benefits of implementing SOA Governance and SOA the most common pitfalls? This and many other questions are answered in the SOA Governance FAQ by Oracle ACE Luis Weir.

Luis also describes the different components that build up the Oracle Foundation Pack (former AIA Foundation Pack) and also provide some useful architectural diagrams describing its key components.

Practical Example for ADF Active Data Service

ACE Director Andrejus Baranovskis describes in his post the practical approach to implement Active Data Service push update mechanism in ADF applications, leveraging Oracle DB offered notifications functionality over JDBC.

Oracle PL/SQL Code Execution from TimesTen

This post written by Oracle ACE Gennady Sigalaev describes the example of execution of Oracle PL/SQL code from TimesTen.

If you're not using Hugepages, you're doing it Wrong!

Read this brief discussion of hugepages and why they're important for Oracle database configuration provided by Oracle ACE Mark Bobak.

How to Check Broken Job for Oracle Scheduler (DBMS_SCHEDULER)?

Oracle ACE Surachart Opun blogs an example with Oracle Scheduler and how DBAs can check broken job for Oracle Job (dbms_job) at *_JOBS.BROKEN column. DBAs have changed the use from DBMS_JOB to DBMS_SCHEDULER.

Oracle 11g New Optimizer Hint: APPEND_VALUES for Improving Insert Performance

One of the most common ways to improve the performance of an INSERT operation is to use the optimizer hint called APPEND. Find out why in Oracle ACE Ami Aharonovich's latest guest post.

Look who's tweeting now - Sending OEM Notifications via Twitter

Oracle ACE Leighton Nelson shares detailed steps for sending Tweets from Oracle Enterprise Manager in his latest post.

NEW BOOKS

Oracle PL/SQL Programming, 6th Edition by ACE Director Steven Feuerstein. Order a signed copy directly from Steven! It supports a good cause! (available now)

Practical Oracle Database Appliance by Oracle ACE Bobby Curtis, ACE Director Yury Velikanov, et al. (available now)

Oracle SOA Governance 11g Implementation by Oracle ACE Luis Weir and Andrew Bell. (available now)

ebook: Securing Oracle Database 12c: A Technical Primer by ACE Director Michelle Malcher,Paul Needham, Scott Rotondo, and James Spooner (available now)

Oracle Database 12c PL/SQL Programming by Oracle ACE Michael McLaughlin (available now)

JRuby Rails Web Application Development (SpringerBriefs in Computer Science) authored by Oracle ACE Deepak Vohra (available now)

Like usual share your thoughts 

5 Tips to engage more efficient meetings

on Wednesday, 22 January 2014. Posted in Blog

5 Tips to engage more efficient meetings

 

 

 

Most of us believe we are very efficient in our meetings, the main issue meetings are not effective we waste valuable time figuring out what we are trying to accomplish in them.

Here some data, in an informal poll conducted by Forbes several years ago, they asked 1000 professionals how they would rate their overall experiences as meeting attendees throughout their careers. Here’s how they responded:

79% rated meetings as “run terribly”

14% rated meetings as “run fairly well”

7% rated meetings as “run extremely well”

Some more statistics:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastianbailey/2013/08/08/just-say-no-how-your-meeting-habit-is-harming-you/

http://business.salary.com/why%2Dhow%2Dyour%2Demployees%2Dare%2Dwasting%2Dtime%2Dat%2Dwork/slide/9/

Don’t fall into the bad statistic categories! Here are some tips that I try to follow:

1) A change of scenery and a bit of fun does wonders for getting people thinking differently and loosening up! (Coffee, power walk meeting, restaurant meeting instead of a conference room meeting with PowerPoint)

2) The meeting notes need to be laser focused in answering 3 questions

What do we see as the next steps?

Who should take responsibility for them?

And what should the timeframe be?

Record the answers and send out an email so that everyone is on the same page. This helps with accountability also no one can say they're not sure what really happened.

3) Don't skip writing minutes just because everyone attended the meeting and knows what happened. Meeting notes serve as a record of the meeting long after people forget what happened.

4) Ban the words "cant" "unable" "not possible" from the room and establish a clear donation to local charity by anyone that utters those words

4) Always provide an escape valve, some meetings tend to be intense, following a meeting, it is vital that your team know that your door is always open if they are struggling with the outcome

5) Do use positive language. Rather than describing the discussion as heated or angry, use passionate, lively, or energetic--all of which are just as true as the negative words. 

Wish everyone a 2014 filled with productive meetings captured efficiently in crisp, clear meeting notes!Never forget Ideas are cheap;come with solutions in your meetings

Like usual share your thoughts and advice on the topic.

 

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

on Wednesday, 04 December 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

A perfect design is an enemy of a good design. Often, we strive for a perfect design by customizing our systems, with what we currently know and forget quickly that the out of the box design may not provide the best solution to a given problem but it would probably have the best chance of meeting the schedule , regulatory compliance and cost constraints with acceptable quality.

I just completed US financial services solution architecture and noticing a trend with enterprise customers towards simplicity and making sure the business is provided tools to adapt to the new out of the box functionality reality. 2014 focus seems to be on essentials, mobile and providing a responsive design to the end user.

Having been lucky enough to have implemented multiple times EBS R12, Hyperion Products, OBI and CRM projects, I share some best practices on what in my view should not be modified and other areas that should be slightly improved from a business architecture standpoint:

 

Architecture OBI Hyperion  EBS

 

One question that comes often what is each product main purpose: here is a quick 1 liner on the products.

Hyperion Financial management is Oracle’s consolidation tool and statutory reporting

Hyperion Planning is the Strategic Planning, Budgeting and forecasting tool

Hyperion Financial Data Management is a tool to map different chart of accounts between source systems (EBS and non EBS applications) and HFM

Oracle EBS R12 is the ERP that store the Financial, Project, Procurement, Supply chain transactions

OBI Oracle Business Intelligence is the BI platform that stores the OLAP analytics, provides enterprise reporting, mobile BI and different scorecards.

When implementing your enterprise software keep in mind the following best practices:

1)  Times are changing; your approach to BI must change, Mobile Users Deserve the Same Quality of Browsing Experience as on your computer, one financial services company in the US is making sure most ERP, CRM transactions can be performed by mobile or tablet. Put in place mobile responsive design architecture when designing your solution. Your competitors are probably doing it or thinking about it. Technology has become the differentiator, not the business process.

2)  Capture integration requirements, then challenge all requirements that don’t respect the out of the box functionality, always make use of the product API’s to customize your solution if required. Focus on essential requirements only.

3) All enterprise software now integratre with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft’s classic spreadsheet program, is a favorite of sales and finance teams everywhere, use it to minimize change management

4)  One that I see often, not matching the growth strategy for the company to the capabilities of the system being implemented. Make sure everyone understands your functionality/ project scope and ROI to avoid the smoking mirror syndrome were the expectations and money spent do not correlate to the required outcome. Communicate with facts and data only!

Like usual please provide your thoughts and comments on solution architecture best practices.

 

 

Don’t panic if your on release 11 here is the official timeline for your Oracle EBS products, brief explanation

on Thursday, 21 November 2013. Posted in Blog

Don’t panic if your on release 11 here is the official timeline for your Oracle EBS products, brief explanation

Yesterday, received an email from an EBS client that is headquartered in France and they run EBS R11.5.10 in production and they advised me they received an email notification from Oracle that version 11.5.10 Extended support ends on November 30, 2013.

Inquired and yes completely true, but it know falls in the category called sustaining support which means as long as you have your license of your Oracle product you will get technical support, online access to the support tools and knowledge base, and access to all the fixes, updates and critical patch updates that are available.

A month ago met another client in the US (multi-billion dollar company) that is running 11.5.8 and they get the necessary support to run their Oracle products. They just began last month their upgrade path project to Release 12.

If your on Release 11 make sure you start planning for Release 12.

4 reasons, why:

 

  1. Multiple 3R Analysis tools currently available: Replace, Retrofit or Rewrite Analysis of all your custom objects including the level of effort to migrate to R12 exist and available on the market.
  2. Release 12 is rich in functionalities compared to R11
  3. Upgrading to Oracle R12 provides the opportunity to streamline Finance, HR, and other back office processes that have become a necessity for companies to stay ahead in the race for greater profits.
  4. Also Release 12 extended de-supports ends far far away in September 2021

 

These are my thoughts, like usual please share your ideas,

Extract from the Oracle October 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

on Monday, 04 November 2013. Posted in Blog

Extract from the Oracle October 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

Let me start by saying Thank you to all my readers — from all over the world! Website has hit 1 million hits and the alexa ranking is 100,000 most popular global website. Thank you!

 

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle October 2013 Newsletter, different global experts share their knowledge and enthusiam on Oracle functional and technical topics:

Recap of the "Real-World Cloud Integration Simplified with Oracle SOA Suite" presentation

Oracle ACE Ahmed Aboulnaga explains why this was the best SOA presentation he attended during OpenWorld.

OOW 2013 Summary for Fusion Middleware Architects & Administrators

ACE Director Simon Haslam's annual round-up of what he thought was most interesting at OpenWorld 2013 for Fusion Middleware architects and administrators.

 

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7?

 

This is a common question asked by many EBS customers so Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos summarized pros and cons with key points to guide your decision making.

 

Installing 11.1.2.3 – Can an Essbase and Planning consultant possibly do it?

 

If ACE Director Cameron Lackpour can install 11.1.2.3, you can too. Read more.

 

 

ipmitool to measure electricity usage of Exadata

Oracle ACE Ferhat Sengönül explains the benefits of using ipmitool to measure electricity.

RAC Internals: cached sequences and 12c

ACE Directoro Riyaj blogged about DFS lock handle contention in an earlier post. SV resources in Global Resource Directory (GRD) is used to maintain the cached sequence values. He will probe the internal mechanics involved in the cached sequences and discuss minor changes in the resource names to support pluggable databases (version 12c).

Java 8 – The Road to Lambda expressions

"Java 8 offers wonderful opportunities and new interesting intellectual challenges for Java developers," says ACE Director Lucas Jellema. His latest post includes some simple examples of Lambda expressions.

Technology preview – Oracle XQuery for Hadoop (New Big Data Connector)

In this post written by ACE Director Marco Gralike, he provides an exclusive demo from Oracle's Dmitry Lychagin, the new XQuery connector for Hadoop, after viewing it live from Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

Does OAM DCC Support Programmatic Authentication?

Oracle ACE JayJay Zheng looks at the Detached Credential Collector (DCC) feature introduced in Oracle Access Manager 11gR2.

Developing geometry-based Web Services for WebLogic | Part 1

This blog written by ACE Director Ronald van Luttikhuizen explains the use case for the service, gives an overview of the software architecture, and briefly discusses GML as markup language for geographical data. Part 2 of this blog provides pointers on the implementation of the service while part 3 discusses the deployment on Oracle WebLogic Server.

Integrating Custom BPM Worklist into WebCenter Portal


Oracle ACE Director Andrejus Baranovskis shares a sample application configured to run a custom BPM Worklist, and shares steps describing how to configure and access it from the WebCenter Portal.

Setup a 12c Fusion Middleware Infrastructure

ACE Director Rene van Wijk shows you how to create automation scripts in order to set-up middleware environments.

Logger with Batch Processes

Martin D'Souza, ACE Director, explains the ability to set the logging level for individual sessions without affecting any other sessions.

Case management supporting re-landscaping


Several factors are driving some organizations to make changes to their application portfolio landscapes. This blog post from Oracle ACE Leon Smiers looks at how case management can ease the transition.

Why doesn’t ALTER SYSTEM SET EVENTS set the events or tracing immediately?

There’s an important difference in the behavior of ALTER SYSTEM when changing paramters vs. setting events. ACE Director Tanel explains it in this post.

Tungsten Replicator Filters: A trove of golden secrets unveiled

One of the strong points of Tungsten Replicator is its ability of setting filters. The amazing capabilities offered by Tungsten filters cannot be fully grasped unless we explain how stage replication works which is what ACE Director Giuseppe Maxia does in this post.

Cloud Control 12cR3, Oracle Linux and VMware

This blog entry written by ACE Director Tim Hall expalns why he would recommend using a virtual environment (Oracle VM or VMware) and run it on Oracle Linux 6 for cloud control.

Virtual Integrity

In his post, ACE Director Jonathan Lewis explains the possible integrity constraints on virtual columns.

Check for postChanges without commit or rollback in ADF BC


A detailed technical how-to post from Oracle ACE Wilfred van der Deijl.

Feel free to share your thoughts !

7 Tips to Improve your Project Solution Architecture Outcome

on Wednesday, 23 October 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

7 Tips to Improve your Project Solution Architecture Outcome

The goal of architecture is to identify the requirements that affect the structure of the application and design a business solution.

 A well thought-out architecture should always consider these important principles:

   Build to change instead of build to last

   Understand the end user needs and the domain before designing components

   Identify sub-systems in your product and consider layers and components to abstract them and identify the key interfaces

   Use an incremental and iterative approach to designing the architecture

   Learn from company history, document your decisions and identify and mitigate key risks

But as we all know: every organization has its share of political drama: personalities clash, diverging agendas. Having worked at many companies here are some thoughts and tips to avoid architecture delays or having your project stopped:

 *** Communicate like you are a Teacher, not a Preacher

 A general assumption, architects are supposed to share their knowledge and experience. Failing to share that information is pretty much against the job description. But how you communicate that experience is the most important part of the job.  Think of your best teachers in school—did they ever go in front of the classroom and tell you how smart they were?  I don’t think so.  They found subtle ways to express their knowledge that encouraged learning and asking questions.

 Tip #1 that I often use , I start my sentences with ‘I think’ this will open discussion items and questions and encourage a two-way discussion.

 Tip #2 Architects are usually quite smart and have a breadth of knowledge but the tone, quality and delivery of the Information is more important than the content, try to always communicate like a teacher .

 

*** Standards apply to Architects, Developers and COE (Center of Excellence)– Don’t take the easy path take the smart path

 Enterprise architects put together standards documents that lay out , architecture patterns, coding conventions, infrastructure, source code nomenclature, and build structures.  But to publish those standardsand fail to hold yourself to them is the highest form of hypocrisy.  If you can’t follow a standard, why would you expect anyoneelse to follow it too?

An example, a company wanted to perform a point (system)to point (system) development, in this case standards existed to use web services with these systems, the development team took a quick decision and coded the point to point development and satisfied the business requirement. The director of the COE (Center of Excellence) did not realize an impact existed onto a surrounding system , the issue caused a security and reconciliation issue. In this case the cost to fix the data & interface was 4 times the initial budget.

 Tip #3 : By applying the standards to your work, you’re respecting the standards of the organization; you also see what will be painful for other groups. Respect your standards and reduce the power politics within your organization.

Tip #4 : Always try to eliminate 'it’s not my job” attitudes at your workplace, especially when you have the role of the architect.

 

***Command from the dugouts, not from the Ivory Tower

Not once, in any company I’ve ever worked with or for, did this idea bear positive fruit for the development teams involved.  Instead, these segregated groups architecture and development teams have generated one or more of the following:

 *        Contempt for the architecture because the developers had no say in

the architecture

*        Rejection of the framework because it was impractical to apply to

the project at hand

*        Blatant disregard for the standards set by architects because the architects did not have to respect company deadlines as a result of the delays introduced by their work

 Tip # 5: Architects should be a member of the project team, never as a visiting diplomat to the team.  Teams respect the opinion of someone who lives their daily reality side-by-side with them, not someone who hands them the Ten Commandments.

  *** Architecture teams that believe their involvement is limited to the design phase don’t really understand what it means to be an architect

 An example, when a building is being built, the architect is on site during the majority of the project, overseeing the effort at a high level, ensuring that little changes are not impacting the big picture.  All the while, the architect assists in solving problems that arise from his or her design from a practical standpoint, same as any enterprise software deployment

 In short, the architect’s involvement is continuous, not disconnected.

 Tip #6 : Make sure the architect is involved in the design, build and deployment phase.

 

***Documentation

Tip #7 : Always begin your intervention with a contextual diagram and perform a walk through with the team, don’t write too much text it may cause confusion at the beginning. Developers and implementers interact better with diagrams.

 For architecture projects to succeed there must be a partnership of developers,implementers and architects. Successful partnerships require two way communication and trust, none of which happens when someone acts like God’s gift to mankind, insists on his way or the highway and doesn’t actively get his hands dirty.

Feel free to share your tips , comments and thoughts.

 

 

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7? Summarized Pros and Cons with key points to guide your decision making

on Tuesday, 01 October 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , fusion, Blog

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7? Summarized Pros and Cons with key points to guide your decision making

EBS customers often ask this question but do not get answers to their satisfaction, the answer seems to be consistently ‘it depends’ and most companies begin an assessment effort to understand the business and technological needs of the organization and analyze how those needs can be met by each solution.

 

Let’s begin and get to the points,

Business/Functional Processes and functionality – Oracle Fusion applications is ready for prime time, when it comes to functionality no major difference exists between Fusion Applications and EBS 12.2. A plus on Fusion you get embedded analytics and analytical power that EBS does not have - The GL is underpinned by Essbase and for accountants you can replace the screens with excels spreadsheets .The one delta - downside for government customers within the financial suite of Fusion, encumbrance accounting not available in release 7. What is encumbrance accounting? Encumbrance accounting is mostly used in public sector municipal, government, and schools. It is a reservation of the fund prior to accrual of the expenses. An encumbrance is a transaction that occurs when someone needs to put money away (to hold it) for a specific purpose. In government accounting, an encumbrance is created when a Purchase Order is issued to buy goods or services. The money has not yet been spent, but is selected for that purchase and no one else can use it.

In our everyday life, it`s like you put money into an envelope to hold it to pay a bill, you have encumbered that money. Similar in putting an envelope in your office drawer marked “Phone bill”, the money you put in the envelope for the next bill is your encumbrance. How much should be encumbered? How much do you think your bill is going to be? That’s encumbrance.


User Experience:
Fusion applications makes R12 look bad when you compare the user experience; I have seen customers express a WOW effect when demoing Fusion. Oracle has really taken their time to get Fusion applications right, they have concentrated heavily on the user interface and user experience and they got it right. In my opinion, this is the biggest advantage of Fusion, end users love the look and feel and the functionality empowerment towards the end user in my opinion is a notch above release 12.

 oraclefusion201310

Development: If you are looking at Fusion Applications you need to have a hard look at your existing EBS RICE(Reports-Interface-Conversions-Extension) and determine if they are really needed and whether there is a strong enough business case to carry them forward. Do not ask yourself should I replicate my 50 extensions in Fusion apps; use it as an opportunity to make processes fit as per application. The customizations towards external 3rd party systems using Oracle Fusion Middleware works well in release 7.

Cost/Internal Staff/Long term support - Fusion Applications is built on cutting edge technology and consequently, the hardware required to support it needs to be that much bigger. Internal staff will require re-training and if you look at some facts on the Oracle Fusion customers already in production, they opted for a cloud deployment –current stats 8/10 deployments in production with Fusion apps have been deployed in the cloud. I think clients are taking this approach mostly because expertise does not exist internally and to build the support knowledge this will create challenges to your business case and your project timeline.

Applications Unlimited Program - Customers that have significant investments in EBS, have no other choice than to utilize the co-existence deployment model. Oracle made long-term commitments to older products like EBS or PeopleSoft through its Applications Unlimited Program; I think this has caused a less attractive proposition to go with Fusion applications, I suspect Oracle will begin in 2014 some client incentives to get their clients onto Fusion apps. Customers should not feel it's a one-size-fits-all scenario, from my independent Oracle client discussions some clients have begun their co-existence strategy in implementing HCM, others CRM, others small steps with Fusion Accounting Hub linking to their current ERP financial transactions, others with Fusion GL,AP,etc.

Stability - One of the most common comments I receive, Fusion is not mature, in my opinion that is an incorrect statement, Fusion is a lot more mature than people are realizing out there, especially around HCM and Financials including Fusion accounting Hub, with Fusion you can envision a global instance for your global organization, harder to do than with R12 .

Licensing – As per my knowledge the cost of licensing between Fusion and R12 are similar, but the internal infrastructure cost grows more for Fusion. I think this is the main reason clients are selecting a SaaS deployment approach. The cost savings will come from customers moving to SaaS with Fusion.

Upgrading Starting point – If you plan to upgrade to EBS 12.2, a direct path is included with the releases 11.5.10.2, 12.0 and 12.1

Link to the complete documentation EBS 12.2 Product Information Center (Note 1581299.1)

If you plan to move to Fusion Applications, begin by reading (DOC.id 250.2) here is the link Life Cycle Manager 

Then reference back to Fusion applications- Product Information Center (Doc ID 100.2 ) Link

My view on the current Oracle client mindset is that they are mostly following an approach that is better to continue with the older more mature products with current technologies till the organization is convinced about the benefits from the upgraded system before deciding in favor of a move to Fusion apps, the time will come soon I think, were Oracle will start pushing incentives towards Fusion!

Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic!

 

Recap/Summarized 2013 OpenWorld Announcements

on Tuesday, 24 September 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle OpenWorld

Recap/Summarized 2013 OpenWorld Announcements

The big announcement today was the full suite of products offered on-premise are now available in the Cloud.

 

Oracle has added multiple services to the cloud, including database as a service, Java in the cloud, business intelligence (BI) and ERP in the cloud.

 

Database in the cloud, this provides full control of a dedicated database instance and supports any Oracle database application, giving users flexibility and choice over the level of managed services provided by Oracle.

 

Java Cloud: this provides Oracle WebLogic Server clusters for deployment of Java applications

 

Business Intelligence Cloud: Enables users to analyse data with visual, interactive dashboards for the web and mobile devices. 

 

Document cloud is like a Sharepoint in the cloud provides file-sharing and collaboration solution and they added a Marketplace Cloud, this provides a marketplace were partners can publish applications and customers can browse through the list similar to google and apple store.

 

Application in the cloud includes full ERP – Financial, (14 largest global localizations available, Projects, HR,CRM, and EPM know fully available – great first step towards that unique global instance so many CIO’s and companies are looking to achieve.

 

Other announcement includes:

 

Oracle's introduction of in-memory option for its 12C database, as well as it Big Memory Machine, M6-32. This machine removes the need to copy data across servers.

 

New E-Business suite release – 12.2

New PeopleSoft Release – 9.2

New JD-Edwards Release – 9.1.2

New Hyperion EPM modules & release 11.1.3

 

New Fusion Middleware 12C – includes new product offerings

 

New integrated customer management experience, integrated with Social.

 

Feel free to share your OpenWorld news and thoughts on the topic!

 

4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing

on Saturday, 07 September 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing

 

 

                                                         Software selection is a tricky and strategic process for any corporation. Here are 4 tips, on how to tackle a system selection process:  

1- The system selection process should follow a fact based approach. Gather Application or functional requirements via interviews and workshops from various groups like Operations, Finance, Marketing, and IT. These requirements should provide the basis for the selection. 

2- Employees in various functional areas, including Business Verticals, CRM, BI,ERP or any other type of system of engagement should participate to determine which value add features should be included in the selection criteria process. Through primary and secondary research (e.g. analyst reviews, vendor calls, subject matter expert reviews, independent consultants, vendor websites, etc.), select three to four vendors to issue the selection and invite them to demonstrate their offering.

3- Have a consistent approach for vendor selection analysis, a scoring schedule with weightings should be developed and validated internally. Further, scoring criteria should be established to evaluate the vendor’s software response.

4- Based on the scoring results and qualitative assessment of the vendors’ response and product demonstrations, short list two vendors and perform a total cost of ownership and a internal high level implementation plan. An important rule never select a software that has no product roadmap.

 

Below are some of the most common slipups, If you see your organization doing any of the following, take action quickly!

1- Not knowing up front the full Total Cost of Ownership . A previous client called me last week and was shocked to learn that their perfect $80K open source solution would cost $700K to make useful in their environment and another $250K annually to support. Make sure you perform a TCO.

2- Believing that newer technology will fix business problems is a trap that organizations repeatedly fall into

3- A software selection process that assumes the consent of other stakeholders without their involvement can easily get derailed. I know of several projects that experienced considerable delays after purchase or the software was put on the shelf do to internal reasons.

4- One that is often forgotten, not paying particular attention to integration points, the software selected must fit within your company’s spiderweb architecture.

Feel free to share any useful tips you've experienced.

 

Business architecture always adapt to your audience - 4 tips

on Thursday, 22 August 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

Business architecture always adapt to your audience - 4 tips

 

Always make a point to understand your audience, audience analysis involves identifying the audience and adapting a speech to their interests, level of understanding, attitudes, and beliefs. Taking an audience-centered approach is important because your material effectiveness will be improved if the deliverable is created and delivered in an appropriate manner.

I have seen many times technical people speaking to the business and not talking at the right level and emphasizing technical information like security, protocols and interfaces. An example application A will push the actuals to application B (good) instead of saying Application A attributes are connecting to table AR_Actuals and the trigger releases the information into Application B table GL_Open_balances. 

Depending on your audience adapt your architecture diagrams accordingly.

In my view, here is a sample architecture of a business architecture diagram that will connect with business savvy people to initiate architecture discussions. here are my tips:

  1. A Business Architecture must be process centric
  2. Be able to apply enterprise-wide architecture and process-level models and techniques that are aligned to your roadmap
  3. Develop a measurable architecture for planning, budgeting, organization design, compliance, human change management, and the introduction of breakthrough technologies
  4. Be able to use an architecture model to accelerate capability change projects and model development

 architecture

 Do you have any favorite tips or would like to share your experience on this topic?

What Everybody Ought to Know About Openworld 2013 – 10 Tips

on Monday, 05 August 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle OpenWorld

What Everybody Ought to Know About Openworld 2013 – 10 Tips

 

 

Less than 6 weeks to Oracle OpenWorld, the conference will officially kick off on Sunday, September 22th.

My tips after a decade of regular attendance as a speaker and attendee of Oracle OpenWorld

1)    Book and plan sessions as soon as possible the content catalog will be live in 2 weeks, as the best ones are "sold out" swiftly. Currently 2400 sessions are available, plan what you want to learn this year and keep that in mind when registering for the session. Use the target audience filter.

This year’s OpenWorld themes expect:

·      A focus on cloud solutions.

·      An updated strategy on fusion applications (Fusion turns 2 years old since general release). The new 2.0 website is much easier to navigate here is the link.

·      Within, Oracle ‘s engineered systems expect a hardware announcement and a continuation from last year trend with an aggressive push towards workforce mobility.

·      Product announcements will occur on Oracle technologies to solve vertical business issues, as a speculation expect an announcement to a more comprehensive big data solution and new features on the newly released 12c database.

2)    Don’t miss Larry’s keynote, usually he provides the big announcements and summarizes well the strategy and themes of this year’s OpenWorld and the ongoing strategy.

3)    If you only remember one thing, bring comfortable shoes. You can expect lots of walking and uncomfortable shoes can put a damper on energy very quickly.

4)    Familiarize yourself with the Moscone floor plans

Moscone South floor plans

Moscone West floor plans

5)    Visit the application demo's ground a great venue because its sole focus is to demo and test new applications. Despite the fact that you will be one of many participants, from my experiences you are given great attention.

6)    Bring business cards for the many drawings that are often offered in the exhibit areas.

7)    Use Twitter at OpenWorld, tweets specific to the conference will be using the following hashtag #OOW13, instant updates, specials, giveaways and comments/feedback from others at the conference.

8)    Take advantages of networking opportunities when you can. There is much to be learned from others from other programs and places. Join in panel discussions, ride the shuttle buses.

9)    Always carry your pass even at night time, many specials (discounts at restaurants and stores ~around 10-15%)

10) There is a bookshop on the second floor of Moscone West, where one can get numerous books and souvenirs. If you are into books you may plan to spend sometime looking at these books and buy few for you or your team members back home.They also arrange to send it to the suggested address if you want to avoid excess baggage.

Oracle OpenWorld is a must-attend business and IT conference event each year.

I’ll be there, and I will blog with twitter you can follow me at @AlexAntonatos and my focus this year will be on cloud solutions, architecture, Hyperion and Fusion sessions.

Also looking forward to the following Oracle ACE activities during OpenWorld 2013:

  Sun, Sep 22: Annual Oracle ACE Dinner

  Wed, Sep 25: Blogger Meetup, Jillians

Have I missed any other helpful tips? Leave a comment!

 

Cloud-based CRM Services Will Continue to Gain Traction, Focus on Master Customer Data Governance – 3 Tips

on Thursday, 25 July 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Cloud-based CRM Services Will Continue to Gain Traction, Focus on Master Customer Data Governance – 3 Tips

 

Customers want personalized service and value, but all too often, efforts to give them this are hampered by inaccurate data. The problem is the data, if left unchecked, will rapidly erode at a rate of 20 percent annually, according to Gartner. That becomes an issue, since you won’t be able to focus on the right customers!

First step you need to focus on what is your customer data and then establish agreement on customer data ownership, always base your governance on target areas:

Below is an example if you’re a B2B , I would focus on the following master data:

*Customer ID/name & parent company (if any)

*Credit Ratings

*Geographic Locations

*(Contacts (sales, billing, shipping)

*Addresses (Bill to, Ship To, mailing)

*Project/order

CRM Master Data

1) In my view your CRM should be attached to your ERP and ecommerce systems if you expect to get more integrated and efficient business processes, at a bare minimum understand where your master and slave data reside.

2) Always expect with a cloud base CRM, a change to your lead-to-cash process cycle – Start early and maintain as much as possible the vendor out of the box functionality.

 leadtocashcycle

3) Once you have established starting point, conduct a data inventory to understand where the data is currently created, modified, and stored. This will give everyone involved a common insight into the scale of the problem. You can do this at a high level by identifying data subject areas as the diagram above or by developing a simple footprint matrix showing systems against subject areas.

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and tips,

Extract from the Oracle June 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

on Tuesday, 16 July 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Extract from the Oracle June 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle June 2013 Newsletter, different global experts share their knowledge and enthusiam on Oracle functional and technical topics:

 

Primary Keys Guarantee Uniqueness? Think Again!

 

ACE Director Arup Nanda provides a great explanation and examples of primary keys and table constraints. And, if you ever wondered about Big Data and what exactly it means, you'll want to read Arup's post "Demystifying Big Data for Oracle Professionals".

 

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise Project

 

Provided by Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos are tips and tricks on the critical last 6 weeks before going live in the areas of testing, data conversion, training and cutover validation.

 

Java EE 7 is Final!

 

Thoughtful summary of insights and pointers from ACE Director Markus Eisele regarding Java EE7. Find a list of articles from Markus about the Java EE 7 launch here.

 

Additional posts by Markus:

 

- Java SE 7 Update 25 - Release-Notes explained
- GlassFish 4 brings Java EE 7
- Interview with German iJUG e.V. (JUG Umbrella) in Java Magazine (Free subscription required to Access article)

 

Health Check of Oracle eBusiness Inventory by using the Inventory Analyzer

 

In this post written by Oracle ACE Kashif Manzoor, he covers the use of Inventory Analyzer tool to evaluate Inventory setup, patch levels, runtime tables, profiles, settings, and configurations with recommendations. This script delivered by eBusiness suite for quick health checkup of most common Inventory issues usually facing by different customers.

 

Capture Workload using Database Replay in 11g

 

Satishbabu Gunukula, Oracle ACE, talks about how to simulate actual production load for performance as well as functionality test and how to adopt changes quickly in an easy and cost effective way. Read more here.

 

MySQL Plugin for New Relic

The popular SaaS Monitoring product New Relic has added support for monitoring of existing data store products. ACE Director Ronald Bradford has written the open source MySQL plugin that gives developers additional insights to monitoring the entire stack.

 

Common Causes Resulting in ORA-01115 ErrorACE Director Syed Jaffar Hussein provides a list of common causes of an 'ORA-01115ORA-01115: IO error reading block from file (block # ).

 

He also shares a learning experience about how to rejoin a node to a 2 node cluster on a Windows Platform.

 

Deploy Agent In Enterprise Manager 12c

 

Enterprise Manager 12c provides very useful tools for all DBA and developers. In this post written by Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa, he explains how to deploy agent in EM 12c to monitor or host a database.

 

Part 3 – Getting started with Statistics for Oracle Data Science Projects

 

ACE Director Brendan Tierney shares part 3 on getting started with Statistics for Oracle Data Science projects which provides a summary of the other statistical functions that exist in the database.

 

Brendan also blogs about The DBMS_PREDICTIVE_ANALYTICS package & Predict procedure and The DBMS_PREDICTIVE_ANALYTICS package & Explain procedure

 

Productivity Tips for using SQL Developer Data Modeler (SDDM)Kent Graziano, ACE Director, has two recent tips on his blog for SQL Developer Data Modeler. The 1st tip is free: Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler . And another free tip for SQL Developer Data Modeler (and a Challenge) .

 

WebLogic on the Virtualized Oracle Database Appliance X3-2ACE Director Simon Haslam is currently working on a proof of concept for running Fusion Middleware, along with RAC, on an ODA and is writing a series of blog posts describing his findings: #1 Planning , #2 Unboxing, with more to follow over the next month. Middleware types may also like this post, and debate, around Admin Server location.

 

Why is Flashback Slow?

 

In this paper written by Oracle ACE Chris Lawson, it explains some interesting phenomenon regarding flashback queries.

 

TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE Aggregation

 

Check out the interesting observations and discussions in ACE Director Randolf Geists post about how the Oracle database treats the TIMESTAMP WITH TIMEZONE datatype when performing aggregation.

 

More to SQL Joins than Meets the Eye

 

Oracle ACE Kyle Hailey discusses in his post surprising visualizations of SQL Joins that can be more complex than you think. He also discusses a new feature in DBaaS: OEM Snap Clone.

 

Oracle 12c RAC On your laptop, Step by Step Guide" or "Back to School Again

 

To get you up to speed with Oracle RAC 12c and let you focus on the important stuff (e.g. features research), ACE Director Yury Velikanov provides detailed step by step installation instructions.

 

Dude, Where is my Redo?

 

This blog entry written by ACE Director Riyaj Shamsudeen discusses a method to identify the objects inducing higher amount of redo. Separately, he disscusses Clusterware startup details here.

 

Lessons from Fusion HCM Implementations

 

At this years OHUG conference Oracle ACE Tim Warner had the opportunity to hear from some organizations who have been through the Fusion HCM implementation process. He shares some those experiences in his latest post.

 

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise Project

on Tuesday, 04 June 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise  Project

 

The cutover and go-live of an enterprise system must be well thought out;

An awareness campaign to the users should be launched 6 weeks in advance to prepare them for Go Live.

It includes awareness messages, the tasks to be carried out during system unavailability and other related information.

The implementation of Enterprise Software is almost always a massive operation that brings a lot of changes in the organization. Virtually every person in the organization is involved, whether they are part of the Functional or technical or the actual end users of the enterprise software.

Below I share tips and tricks on the critical last 6 weeks before going live in the areas of testing, data conversion, training and cutover validation.

Enterprise Cutover

Like always share your thoughts and feedback

More tips for production cutover to new system

http://appsconsultant.com/item/tips-for-enterprise-production-cutover-projects

BPM and SOA are joined at the hip - 5 tips - next mobile bpm is coming.

on Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Posted in Blog, BPM

BPM and SOA are joined at the hip - 5 tips - next mobile bpm is coming.

 

Over time, business process logic became embedded in these custom applications, often undocumented code and proprietary data structures that were expensive to change, the business answer was to duplicate business functionality, which of course increased the difficulty and expense of changing code. That resulted in higher IT costs and growing IT backlogs.

In my view most companies are starting the adoption of a data/process governance model across the enterprise and have understood the important link between BPM and SOA.

 


BPM is a management discipline that documents business processes so that they may be consistently executed, by measuring, monitoring and controlling process performance this includes key inputs and outputs of process.

BPM is a way of building operational solutions. SOA is a thought model that helps decompose complex problems into well-defined and reusable components. BPM ends with a statement of the desired level of automationand SOA begins with the set of services that are available to support the desired automation.

 

Tip 1 – Provide your business analysts /architects with BPMN 2.0 and BPEL modeling for your enterprise projects

Tip 2 – Embrace your company methodology don’t drop it because of BPM or SOA modify the governance process and add the new deliverables into your existing company methodology.

Tip 3 – BPM and SOA follow what you design is what you execute” (WYDIWYE) model. This model eliminates synchronization problems between design and run time, traditionally when the analyst created his business requirements document and the Developer developed the RICE(Report, Interface, Conversion Extension) Communication/interpretation issues occured. With BPMN Technical and Business Analysts are using the same tools.

Tip 4 - Connect your Business Analyst to BPM to create a realistic road map for process transformation. Anytime I'm in a room filled with enterprise architects and business process professionals, there's often a healthy debate back and forth about who drives transformation across the enterprise. The truth of the matter is that architects are usually the ones tasked with designing and delivering business transformation. And architects are often found in both EA and Business teams.  If your Business Process initiative doesn't have an architect, make it a top priority to bone up on architecture in and look to add architecture skills to your process transformation activities.

Tip 5Here are guidelines for which business problems are best suited for SOA adoption

 

Business Characteristics Unlikely SOA Case Likely SOA Case
Process Rate Change

Low

High

Shared Services

No

Yes

Business Transactional Model

Transactional

Procedural

Organizational Scope

Vertical

Horizontal

Runtime Dynamics

Static

Dynamic

Business Data

Centralized

Distributed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BPM next focus should go towards mobile.
But looking a few years ahead, there is a one technology that I believe will have an impact on the way BPM systems are built: Speech Recognition.

 

The business case is quite simple:
Most of the BPM solutions use forms.
Once forms were filled by pencil and paper, then came the electronic forms, then keyboards to fill in the forms, and now “Mobile” enables you to “tap” information into the forms.

Your thoughts what do you think... 

 

Below are some previous blogs on the topic of SOA and BPM:

Use BPM and SOA to drive out cost

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=9

Business Process Execution Language

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=9

 

SOA Architecture Strategy

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=118&Itemid=9

 

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=9

   

 

 

 

Thank you, readers! For making appsconsultant.com an international success for the last 10 years!!

on Monday, 29 April 2013. Posted in Blog

Thank you, readers! For making appsconsultant.com an international success for the last 10 years!!

 

   I am so grateful to all of you who make up the loyal community of readers to whom I am connected. I am humbled and I thank all the users the ones who write encouraging emails or speak to me in person , your feedback has encouraged my purpose of the website to share knowledge and create a two way global conversation.

Currently there are over 650 million active websites source: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-08/tech/31135231_1_websites-domain-internet

I am deeply gratified, Thank you! appsconsultant.com global ranking is 267,213 as of April 29, 2013

 Alexa stats for appsconsultant.com 29-Apr-2013

Source : http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/appsconsultant.com

To the ones who pass tips, send emails, provide their thoughts, you are multiplying the impact of the site that is the objective of this site. Thank you!

To the ones who write passionately reviews, your feedback challenges me to write more in the future. Thank you! I currently write once a week and will try to maintain this tempo throughout the year, I do not have the bandwidth to increase more writing and I apologize to those that requested more writing. It is important for me to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life.

To all those who read this blog and keep up with me via LinkedIn and Twitter, I'm grateful for our connection. Thank you to all one more time and to a great month of May!

Extract from the Oracle March 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

on Monday, 08 April 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Extract from the Oracle March 2013 Newsletter - Various Global Experts share their Knowledge

 

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle March 2013 Newsletter, different global experts share their enthusiasm on Oracle functional, technical ideas and concepts:

- UKOUG Magazine Oracle Scene: Database Virtualization and Instant Cloning (p26) written by Oracle ACE Kyle Hailey

- Professional Software Development using Oracle Application Express written by Oracle ACE Rob van Wijk

- Dutch IT magazine: A seven part series on the OTN Yathra Tour 2013 and IT in India written by ACE Director Lucas Jellema (in Dutch)

NEW VIDEOS

MySQL Stored Routines Debugger & Debugging API: Sneak Peek II created by Oracle ACE Shlomi Noach

Blog Post: How to Implement Fusion Applications

Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos shares his knowledge on Oracle Fusion by answering questions and providing a visual diagram on the steps required to implement an instance of fusion applications.

He also provides a whiteboard animation video discussing Fusion Financial and HCM Apps benefits.

Blog Post: ADF, Oracle SQL and more posts by ACE Director Lucas Jellema

- ADF: (re-)Introducing Contextual Events in several simple steps

- Oracle SQL – Finding free adjacent seats in an airplane, using Subquery Factoring, Analytical Functions (LISTAGG and LEAD), Outer Join, PIVOT and good old INSTR

- Out of the box usage of ADF DVT Scheduling Gantt Chart to report Database Query Results using stacked bar charts per time period

- Oracle SQL – spotting combinations that occur and those that do not – demonstrating Analytical Functions, Outer Join and SubQuery Factoring

- Oracle SQL: Using subquery factoring in an INSERT statement

- How Oracle Database uses internal locks to make statement level constraint validation robust at the transaction level

Blog Post: When 'FREE' costs more in the long run: Why WebCenter often costs less then SharePoint - despite the stunning license price difference

Are you clear on the Great and the Ugly of WebCenter and SharePoint - enough to recommend one over the other for an enterprise-wide deployment? Feeling that your company has made a mistake by picking the wrong product? Or simply wondering "what if... ?" Check out this 2 page mini-whitepaper written by Oracle ACE Dmitri Khanine for some answers. It’s a quick read, that may shock and excite you.

Blog Post : Exadata Optimization Tips

Where do I start with Oracle if I want to be a DBA? written by Oracle ACE Kyle Hailey

Blog Post: Amazon EC2 - RDS quick comparison

Oracle ACE Marco Tusa provides a review of the real status about Amazon RDS in comparison with EC2.

Blog Post: Possible Data Corruption, ORA-600 on RAC Instances Shutdown

ACE Director Syed Jaffar Hussain discusses how a typical RAC instance shutdown sometimes can lead to data corruption and produces senescence of ORA-600 and what is the recommended RAC instance/database shutdown procedure to avoid the issue.

If you are planning a Database 11g upgrade with downgrade in mind, you will might find these tips provided by Syed helpful.

Blog Post: 5-Part Series on Oracle Clustering

ACE Director Brendan Tierney has published a series of 5 blog posts on how to do Clustering using the Oracle Data Miner Tool and how to do Clustering using the ODM SQL and PL/SQL functions. Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Another post by Brendan will help determine whether you are a Type I or a Type II Data Scientist. Find out here.

Blog Post: Using Production Data for Testing

Daily DBA tasks, dealing with development environment and refresing using production data... is this a good idea? Production Data contains sensitive information and should not be shared with unauthorized people. Read this post, including data research on security, provided by Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa.

Blog Post: CBO 10053 Trace Files Series

A series of posts provided by ACE Director Doug Burns on what he thinks is the most important reason to use 10053 trace files.

Blog Post: Bash Script to Upload RMAN Backups via FTP

Oracle ACE Gokhan Atil shares a small bash script which calls an SQL script to queries RMAN backups and demonstrates some interesting methods such as handling arrays returned from SQLPLus.

Blog Post: Convert JSON to XML/SOAP (in Spanish)

A common occurance these days, Oracle ACE Rolando Carrasco provides a guide to converting JSON to XML/SOAP using Oracle Service Bus.

In a different post, he shares an introduction to Oracle ADF Mobile.

Blog Post: Debugging Data Pump session

While importing a dump file, it can sometimes be a long process. ACE Director, Kamran Agayev, shares his command solution he runs to import the dump file into the new database.

Blog Post: What is the Oracle Cloud Really?

If you ever wondered what is the big deal around Oracle Cloud Service, you'll want to read this post written by ACE Director Markus Eisele. He explains it well and also provides an example on how to use JAX-RS with Jersey on the Oracle Cloud Service

Another interesting post Markus shares is about Test driving Java API for Processing JSON with GlassFish 4.0.

Blog Post: Installing Oracle Business Transaction Monitoring 12.1.0.3

Oracle ACE Rob Zoeteweij created virtual Servers and describes the installation process of BTS in his latest post.

Rob continues to share his knowledge on EM 12c, this post describes how to setup Database as a Service using EM12c DB Plugin 12.1.0.3.

Blog Post: Pseudo Cursors and Invisible SQL

Do you ever wonder why Oracle Enterprise Manager and AWR reports show the SQL text for some SQL IDs as not available? ACE Director Julian Dontcheff provides an explanation in his latest post.

Here's another good read by Julian on the definition of "The Oracle Platform Administrator".

Blog Post: Cost Free Joins

In this two-part post, ACE Director Randolf Geist first demonstrates an unexpected Nested Loop Join caused by an extreme data distribution. In the latter, he presents another case of an unexpected execution plan, this time about Merge Joins.

Blog Post: Oracle Background Process Killed

Oracle ACE Asif Momen demonstrates how to connect to the Oracle Database even if background processes are k.illed

Blog Post: Adding HINTS in ODI

Read this post written by Gurcan Orhan as he explains how to implement adding Oracle HINTS and Variable HINTS into ODI (static and dynamic).

 

 

Business Intelligence should not be Hype, use it to answer these 4 golden rules, I included an explanation of the OBIEE Design Architecture with step by step approach to building Reports.

on Wednesday, 03 April 2013. Posted in Blog, Business Intelligence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BI should provide users the data and tools to answer questions that are important to running the part of the business you are responsible for

  1. Determine if the business is on track
  2. Identify where things are going wrong
  3. Take and monitor corrective actions
  4. Spot trends

 

Below is the OBIEE Standalone Architecture and an overview of its components

 OBIEE Architecture

  • Data Source --Contain the business data, users want to analyze. OBI supports Relational Database, OLAP databases, Flat Files, Spreadsheets, XML files etc .
  • OBI Web Server-- Provides the processing to visualize the information for client consumption.
  • Clients
    • Answers--Provides a self-service analysis platform for analytical needs.
    • Dashboards—Provides a way to organize related information for easy access.
    • Delivers---Used to create Ibots. Delivers alerts to subscribed users. It is integrated with dashboards and answers.
    • BI Analytical Server--- Provides efficient processing , generates dynamic SQL to query data base iin the data sources, structures results to satisfy requests.
    • BI Scheduler---Manages and executes jobs requesting data analytics. Schedules reports to be delivered to users at specified times.

Last week received the following support email

From: **********************************
Sent: March 25, 2013 2:29 PM
To: Alex Antonatos
Subject: OBIEE reports with Answers

Hi Alex,

I am a regular reader of your blog, great website and thank you for sharing your experiences.

We have installed OBIEE and new to BI Answers trying to understand how to create reports with Answers. Can you help us understand the steps required in deploying procurement spent report with Oracle Answers.                                                    

Sincerely,

*******************

*******************

Step by Step approach in building BI reports using Answers

Oracle BI Answers is the Oracle BI interface used to query the organization’s data. They provide answers to business questions. It allows you to explore and interact with information, and present and visualize information using different views.

Answers can be accessed by using URL default area http://OBIServer/analytics/saw.dll?Answers

Step 1: Arrow mark indicates the subject areas accessed by the current user. In my current example I am using Purchasing to respond to the support email above.

 Step 1- BI Answers

Step 2: Once click on the subject area displays the related tables and columns in left side pane

 Step 2- Bi Answers

Step 3: Select the columns from the left side pane.

Step 3- Bi Answers

Step 4: Select the columns from the left side pane.

 Step 4- Bi Answers

Step 5: Save the results in the required folders

 Step 5 - Bi Answers

Then you can view reports in various formats. By selecting the type of report from the drop down, then it will generate the report in that view.

 Sample BI Output

Like always, don’t hesitate to share your experiences/tips with me and the website readers on OBIEE

Use buzzwords wisely instead work on your value proposition, here is one example that has worked well for me for the last 5 years

on Tuesday, 12 March 2013. Posted in Blog, Business Intelligence

Use buzzwords wisely instead work on your value proposition, here is one example that has worked well for me for the last 5 years

 

Essentially, most of the really popular buzzwords ones have become cliché, and therefore make it easy for a customer to spot the sales pitch, and customers do not like to buy sales pitches. They like to buy service and products.

The verdict, then, is that buzz words are an effective tool, but only when used in moderation. One or two unique, carefully selected phrases can catch a customer's attention, and help them understand the benefits of the product or service. More than that will start to confuse the information and put the customer on guard.

As an employee or consultant you should always work on your value proposition.

Your value proposition is a statement that summarizes on how you are differentiated from your competitors. It should answer the question: “Why should I choose to buy this product or service, and why now?” Here are some tips:

The best value proposition is clear: what is it, for whom and how is it useful? If those questions are answered, you’re on the right path. Always strive for clarity first.

If your value proposition makes people go “oumph?”, you’re doing it wrong. If they have to read a lot of text to understand your offering, you’re doing it wrong. Yes, sufficient amount of information is crucial for conversions, but you need to draw them in with a clear, compelling value proposition first.

What makes a good value proposition:

  1. Clarity! It’s easy to understand.
  2. It communicates the concrete results a customer will get from purchasing and using your products and/or services.
  3. It says how it’s different or better than the competitor’s offer.
  4. It avoids hype (like ‘never seen before amazing miracle product’), superlatives (‘best’) and business jargon (‘value-added interactions’’synergies’).
  5. It can be read and understood in about 10 seconds.

 

Here is one example i have been offering clients for the last 5 years:

As a consultant, I have put in place multiple Enterprise BI solutions, over the years in implementing these products I developed a product in Excel to help clients analyze and provide options to build or Buy their BI applications.

The Differentiators of my product are

  1. Customizable to each clients project needs
  2. Fixed cost
  3. Quick turnaround and independent advice
  4. Simple to use
  5. No setup fee
  6. No long-term identification time and material contract required
  7. Money-back guarantee if the product has not provided any value

 appsconsultant.com BI work effort estimator

Since 2007, 110 global clients have purchased the product and satisfied with the results.

I believe that everybody has some kind of talent in them. No matter what it is everyone is able to do something better than some people. Be aware of your talent and make it be readable and understandable in around 10 seconds, why 10 seconds? In 2013 most of us have developed a short attention span main 4 reasons behind this is 1. Internet 2.Texting 3. Portable Music 4. Television

Here are some screenshots of the BI product:

appsconsultant.com BI budget estimates

 

appsconsultant.com BI Business rules

appsconsultant.com BI effort estimator

Test drove for the last 6 months Oracle Fusion Applications, they have achieved Incredible Things, 7 Pros and 2 Challenges of Fusion Applications.

on Wednesday, 13 February 2013. Posted in fusion, Blog, Enterprise Architecture

Test drove for the last 6 months Oracle Fusion Applications, they have achieved Incredible Things, 7 Pros and 2 Challenges of Fusion Applications.

 

As most of you know for the past 6 months with some individuals in Palo Alto,CA. I have been testing, educating myself on the next generation of Oracle applications called Oracle Fusions Applications. What is Oracle Fusion Applications? It is inspired by the best of breed of Oracle’s application: Peoplesoft (HRMS), E-Business Suite (Financials), Primavera (Projects), JD Edwards (Manufacturing/Financials) and Siebel (Embedded analytics)

The question that everyone is asking should i stay on my current ERP or replace my systems with Fusion applications: (I must get an email every two weeks on this topic). Before i share my thoughts on this topic, let me share my experience for the last 6 months on the current version of the Fusion applications:

Pros

1)The response time is solid, look and feel is great.

 fusionalextest2147

2) They have incorporated a configuration setup workflow that makes it much easier to configure your module. Above screenshot I logged in with Fusion Functional Setup Manager (FSM) this is a one- stop shop for all implementation activities from planning to deployment. FSM is a separate module product, who manages all setups and all the various branches of products groups. Fusion includes FSM to allow implementation by others than the IT department or consultants. This includes plenty of checklists and simplifies the job of the project manager to setup and monitor the setup tasks as identified by Fusion itself. (Functional setup much quicker and easier to perform!)

3) What I appreciated the most was the export setup data, this functionality also allows users to easily migrate configurations from one instance to another (Test/ Production), works great did not encounter any major issues.

fusionalexexportsetups

 

4) Oracle Fusion Architecture provides an open architecture ecosystem, which is service & event- enabled.

5) Current present day applications have been on proprietary tools like People Tools, Forms, which require niche skill sets to manage and maintain.

6) Fusion has been developed; with Open standards based technology and is built on re-known Oracle Fusion Middleware (ADF, JAVA, SOA, BPEL, WEB 2.0 etc).

7) Currently CRM and HCM families are the most popular modules of Fusion, followed by Supply chain management (SCM).  Below are all the family products:

 fusionapplications

Where does PeopleSoft, EBS, Primavera, JDE and Siebel go from there? All these ERP’s had released a major version after the announcement of Fusion GA(General Availability), and there's no end in sight for future support(I guess until 2020). In fact, I think Oracle has good reason to keep these Enterprise systems going, even with Fusion now as an option.

I don't think Oracle is in a rush to try to get people to move to Fusion. PeopleSoft, EBS etc...They are very profitable business for them.

If you just look at PeopleSoft are far more profitable than Fusion precisely because the latter is so new. The dilemma for customers is when to opt for innovation over stability.

Oracle Fusion implementation can be done in 4 ways by

  1. Upgrading—Replacing an existing Oracle Applications instance with a new release (either a currently installed Oracle Applications version or Oracle Fusion Applications)
  2. Reimplementation—Treating an existing Oracle Applications installation as a “legacy system” and implementing some components of a live Oracle Fusion Applications installation or an entirely new Oracle Fusion Applications installation
  3. Coexistence—Adding Oracle Fusion Applications solutions to a customer’s existing Oracle Applications solutions, rather than upgrading or implementing new solutions in place of existing solutions
  4. Migration of data—Converting data from one Oracle instance to another Oracle instance by using Oracle’s Open Interfaces API and other Oracle or third-party conversion tools

I am strong believer of co-existence strategy and architecture for Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel apps and Fusion, for the following 3 reasons:

1- Risk mitigation, Fusion applications is still in my view a new product

2- You require revamping your technology skills within your organization to extend, maintain and support the various components of Oracle Fusion Applications here is my short list (A coexistence strategy can help you slowly adapt with the change of technologies):

  • SQL, PL/SQL, JAVA & java script
  • XML – Extended Markup Language
  • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets
  • XSL – Extensible Style sheet Language
  • ADF – Application Development Framework
  • JSF – Java Server Faces
  • Web Services
  • BPEL – Business Process Execution Language
  • AIA – Application Integration Architecture
  • Web Center
  • BI Publisher
  • OBIEE – Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
  • Hyperion Essbase
  • WebLogic Server Administration
  • Oracle Identity Management

3- Most corporations have invested significant money in their current technologies, and will require a strong business case with facts and numbers on the added value of going to Fusion in a big bang approach.

Interest will remain high with Fusion applications and my predictions in the next 5-8 years everyone will be on Fusion similar model like SAP. Why 5-8 years? Most corporations require lots of inter connections to other systems (spider web architecture) and have invested in significant customizations to meet the corporations global business requirements.

My overall experience with the Fusion applications exceeded my expectations. Would appreciate to hear from clients and others that are live with Fusion.

9 ways to reduce cost and maximize value on User Productivity Kit (UPK)

on Sunday, 10 February 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

9 ways to reduce cost and maximize value on User Productivity Kit (UPK)

 

What is UPK?It is a software tool that can capture all the steps in a system process. It records every keystroke, every click of the mouse, each menu option chosen and each button pressed. All this is done in the UPK Recorder by going through the transaction and pressing “printscreen” after every user action. From this, without any further effort from the developer, UPK builds a number of valuable outputs

All major ERP/Enterprise  players have their own version (PSFT, EBS,JDE, SAP, Siebel) perhaps one of the less well known of the software products on the price list, however just a brief consideration of its name indicates that it may be of considerable value to organisations. We invest significant money and resources in the purchase and implementation of software applications but do we realise, in practice, the levels of productivity that we would like to have and that will bring the full return on our investment? 

Here are some tips to help you reduce costs:

  1. These tools have become quite easy to manipulate you don’t require a centralized group, de-centralize function these packages have become mainstream. De-Centralize the use of these type of packages.
  2. You invest more than time and money when you decide to go with a UPK package. You are, in essence, investing in a product to explain and handle your business processes. With everything that you spend (time, money, and effort) learning the system, Negotiate hard with your vendor, Your goal should be to pay the right price and not what the vendor is telling you, I have seen clients get substantial savings on these type of products. The downside once you are committed to the UPK system even if it is not entirely suited to you and your staff. This makes it unlikely that you'll switch to a new system, even if that system might work better, because you've just spent so much time incorporating it into your organization. Change is expensive.
  3. If you buy use it throughout the whole project lifecycle, as recommended below:Snap 2013-02-10 at 14.56.20

 

Were it adds value to your implementation:

4) Users learn and absorb the new application and procedures much easier through the many training tools available through UPK.

5) Quality assurance testing is made simpler and virtually seamless by capturing test case scenarios using the Oracle UPK.

6) Process documentation is completed almost automatically by utilising UPK.

7) When creating your content always have the training plan in mind, and it should always address these points:

Learning objectives

Training and delivery approach per module

Audience per module

Course curriculum

Course schedule

Assumptions

8) ROI on UPK is usually delivered quickly, it will help you standardize application throughout the organization and help you reduce test script creation time and reduce documentation time

9) Maintain your walk away power. It is better to walk away from a not interesting price rather than making too large of a concession, that your organization will regret later.

Finally in my experiences, UPK can output Instructor manuals, student guides and quick reference cards directly from the same single recording exercise. The efficiency that can be gained across the project is obvious in terms of a single recording and development exercise supporting so many project activities. UPK could be financially justified on the generation of test scripts alone for a medium to large implementation. 

When it comes to supporting major application implementations, there is no substitute for experience. Hire people with experience to help you design your UPK strategy and deployment.

 

The Importance of Saying Thank You

on Friday, 25 January 2013. Posted in Featured, Blog

The Importance of Saying Thank You

 

Yesterday at a post go-live celebration, i learned a valuable lesson:

Background on the project, it was strategic initiative for the Desjardins group, the scope was to implement a new financial shared services model in Ontario for the Agricultural business industry - a first for Desjardins. My role on the project was to build and design the project solution architecture, and was responsible to deliver the solution architecture deliverable (Also known as the DAS within the Desjardins Methodology)

During our lunch we had a visit by Stephane Achard, Senior Vice President Business and Institutional Services, of the Desjardins Group, he spoke for 10 minutes congratulating the team and emphasizing the importance of having delivered this project.

After his speech I thought he would of departed, but he went to speak to each one and actually listened and asked different questions to the 20 project members and noticed he always finished by saying thank you.

Factual things are rational, but saying "thank you" is mostly an emotional act. It connects one person to another. Saying "thank you" doesn't just acknowledge someone's effort, thoughtfulness, intent, or action. It acknowledges the person himself.

Acknowledging other people is a critical responsibility — perhaps the most critical responsibility — of a great VP.

Acknowledging each other is our basic responsibility as human beings living in community with other human beings. In 2013 lets all try to be optimistic and acknowledge others.

On a side note next week, I will add on the website my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlexAntonatosTV

As always even on YouTube lets continue our two way communication.

 

Test drove Oracle Exadata with Oracle GL Financial Analytics, the pros/cons, and vision to embrace it within your blueprint

on Thursday, 17 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

 

Oracle’s vision is clear with Exadata , it integrates by design with other Oracle products like Enterprise manager 12c and a game changer in performance.

Exadata came from the Sun Microsystems acquisition; this has proven to be a strategic acquisition. Sun technology enabled Oracle to become one of the leaders in the highly profitable engineered system segment of the hardware business. I believe that products like Exadata and the SPARC SuperCluster will not only continue to drive growth for their hardware business but force the titans to innovate instead of executing.


The vision for the 4 titans SAP, Oracle , IBM and Microsoft is to offer their clients, an option to be in command of all layers of their clients technology stacks, “One Throat to Choke” principle. This is an expression used in business to describe the advantage of purchasing goods or integrated services from a single vendor. That way, when something goes wrong, there is only “one throat to choke.”

Also I believe in the future (next 24 months)the licensing agreements will begin a new phase of bundling hardware and software together.

 I had the opportunity with some folks in California to test drive Exadata. I was impressed the Exadata X3 (X3 stands for third Generation) is a real game-changer, as far as data is concerned, the combination of the huge on-board flash memory with the benefits of Hybrid Columnar Compression, meaning that you could store at least 200TB of data in memory on a full rack of Exadata X3. In other words you should never have to hit spinning disks for your data again.

We installed Oracle financial analytics with GL (General Ledger) and used the 5 interactive dashboards of GL to test Exadata. The financial dashboards were:

1-Profit and Loss

2-Expense

3-Balance sheet

4-Cash Cycles

5-Liquidity

Below is the look and feel of the GL financial dashboards:

 

oracle financial gl interactive dashboards

 

Pros

 1)We pushed the Exadata machine to 100 000 transactions per seconds with no wait as you see below the dark blue color is the user I/O, no latency. Flash Log and machine performance was exceptional.

 

Exadata Output

2)Exadata has a Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) is a feature introduced in Oracle Database 11g Release 2 which Oracle allows to be used on Exadata storage, in our testing we had an uncompressed database of 75 Gigabytes, and by using the compression advisor functionality it was reduces 20 times to 3.8 Gigabytes. This feature impressed me the most; it is less talked about , should produce a significant savings on storage.

3)Seamless Integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager, it comes with 3 views Hardware, Software/System and a configuration view that summarizes all components with patch recommendation. (Here is a white paper link that explains the integration in detail.) http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/exa-mgmt/exadata-mgmt-twp-1662642.pdf

4)The adoption of Exadata will necessitate a revamp of the IT support roles to make this single group responsible for the entire frame from storage to the database.

The Exadata machine administrator will need to be versatile and knowledgeable in different areas: Here are my thoughts on the breakdown of the role:

55% Database Administration
25% Cell Administration
10% Linux or Solaris Administration
10% Miscellaneous (Infiniband,other...)

 

Cons

1)Oracle Exadata x3 being a new product has a small footprint and the competition especially from the other titans is ferocious, business case must be thorough, I think best approved using an enterprise consolidation project of many environments, the business case must identify the extent of the existing Information System problems and show a roadmap moving towards a private cloud.

2)The Oracle Exadata, SAP Hana and IBM Neteeza all have similar architectures no ‘wow’ differentiator between them To learn more on this product line, here are some links to help you get started:

Oracle Exadata – Home Page

http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/exadata/overview/index.html

Overview of the Oracle Exadata - Online Documentation

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28271_01/doc.1111/e24473/em_exadata_dbmachine.htm

My next entry will provide you tips and tricks in using Oracle's Unified methodology (OUM) for your project and make my first video on this topic.

I received many inquiries asking me about the technical details of this website: Here are the specifications: The website is built with Joomla 3.0 (open source), database is MySQL, The server is a virtual private server, Operating system is CentOS6(based on Linux) with 2GB RAM and 60GB of Disk Space.

 

 

Here is your complete look at Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c pros and cons, and the vision

on Wednesday, 09 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

Oracle has an early head start with the future of Enterprise Management, and its latest iteration of Enterprise Manager 12c is the best yet. 

While the technology isn't perfect yet, I have been test driving for the past 2 weeks and when testing received some network errors and other hiccups, but pretty stable and flexible and the clunky interface from version 11 has been completely revamped.

 Here is the new look of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. It’s a beauty.

 

 

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is Oracle's envisioned product line to manage the complete lifecycle of the cloud. I think as cloud adoption becomes more mainstream, companies will be obliged to follow and add this product into their suite of products. Why?

 

Pros

 

  1. Oracle has integrated management services, monitoring, and plug-ins that communicate with My Oracle Support.
  2. New web 2.0 User Interface easy to configure and information is placed in a user friendly and logical fashion
  3. The Agent architecture comes with all the plug-ins you require
  4. Technology uses latest ADF technology, easy to install (solid documentation), also was impressed with the operating system Solaris 11.

Cons

  1. I had some hiccups when test driving the application where i needed to shutdown services and databases to get it started. (I probably had some patches that i did not install – Make sure you have all recommended patches)
  2. I found that the licensing agreement is quite complex probably because of its enterprise wide reach, Below is the link to the licensing agreement http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/license.121/e24474.pdf
  3. EM12c R2 is certified with BI Publisher 11.1.1.6.0 only. Therefore in case you are using EM 12c R1 which is integrated with BI Publisher 11.1.1.5.0, you must upgrade the BI Publisher to 11.1.1.6.0

As Cloud Computing sees a better adoption rate, I think the prospects of Enterprise manager 12c will bevery promising.

Below is how a Private Cloud Lifecycle (also known as the Enterprise Cloud) project would be executed from initiation to deployment.

 

For individuals that are not aware or familiar with this product line and would like to learn more, here are some links to help you get started:

Overview of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12 C - Online Documentation
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/doc.121/e25353/overview.htm#BABIFBJE

Oracle Enterprise manager 12c videos
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF45DBCDF595F1D1D

Thank you all for the feedback on the website, really appreciate it, helped me quickly to get a handle on the issues/bugs. I will configure video sometime in February.

I am currently test driving Oracle Exadata with some folks in Palo Alto, will share my thoughts/pros and cons and strategies to adopt Exadata on my next article.



Stay Optimistic

on Saturday, 05 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 

I was reading this weekend, the most watched TV programs were MSNBC and CNN Money.

 

Also looking at NY Times, Financial Post and the Economist reported 35% increase in their paper sales - All with pessimistic news as front page. Let’s take a step back this concludes that fear sells do not be a pessimist. No depression is coming unemployment is 7% and not 40 %, in those times no government programs existed and governments made crucial mistakes by staying on the side lines in the 30's.

 

 

Here are some quick tips on how to start seeing the glass half-full:

 

  • Find the good. Even in less-than-great situations, there’s a way to find something positive. It may be hard to see at first, but try looking closer!

 

  • Write it down. First thing in the morning, make a list of everything you’re grateful for and start the day with a positive attitude. Or end the day with a smile and write down a few good things that happened, like finishing a big report at work or getting an e-mail from an old friend. The habit makes it easier to appreciate the positive parts of life.
  • Stay Balanced. Life isn’t all good, all the time, so don’t worry if those positive thoughts don’t flow freely. Staying realistic is also important to help manage anxiety and boost productivity.

 

 

Our leaders have studied the depression case of the 1930's, it will not be repeated.

 

The problem is not a recession but the credit issue and lack of faith in our governments, recessions happen and they are healthy for the economy, they remove excess(if any).

 

In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists. Other studies have linked a pessimistic explanatory style with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality.

 

Enjoy your first weekend of 2013!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Holidays and my 2013 predictions

on Wednesday, 02 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Dec 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM

First off, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with prosperity, health and happiness!  Wishing you all the best for 2013. 

Below are my personal predictions for 2013: 

In the technology space, Saas (cloud) will continue to rise, IT will continue to deploy new technologies using the cloud technologies like ERP, EPM, CRM and helpdesk will be moving to the cloud for IT to focus on higher value activities. As we became proficient in social and mobile, I think the cloud will change the traditional way of doing business and will continue to be embraced by businesses. Smaller and mid-size companies will likely continue to adopt the SaaS model more rapidly, but I find that large, multi-national clients will continue to be uncomfortable and the adoption rate will be slower for reasons of lack of control and security offered by SaaS solutions. 

I think 2013 the nasty fights between these large players will continue: Apple vs Google. Apple vs Samsung etc.

ERP/CRM/EPM space will go mobile, integration , solution architecture will remain hot skillsets for 2013.

Lawsuits in 2013 will continue. This prediction should not happen if ERP/CRM vendors, consulting firms and implementation partners win projects with accurate and truthful estimates. Some companies still work by promising the world and delivering less than expected, over budget and later than promised. Lawsuits often describe instances where the ERP/CRM/EPM systems failed to deliver any of the expected business results. 

SAP and Oracle will continue they’re buying spree and continue the path towards consolidating the market.

CIO’s biggest headaches will continue to be increasingly complex infrastructures, distributed end users, and a constant expectation for performance.

As for BI/DW, the concept of single corporate data warehouse is dead. Multiple systems need to be tied together. The Big data push will continue as Hadoop and nosql should maintain their upside momentum. 2013 part of many solutions of that puzzle will be corporate data that already exists and how to make it available for decision making.

The end of privacy for all of us, if you don’t believe me, just ask David Patraeus. He thought Google Gmail’s Draft folder would protect his privacy. As you read in the news, it did not...

My top 5 2013 hot skills will be

1)    Brain Power: Critical Thinking, Complex Problem Solving, Judgment and Decision-Making

2)    Application development, I think a trend will evolve and the death of legacy applications may occur faster than we think, companies should continue their affection with vanilla/out of the box implementations, developers will be required to support the decommissioning of these legacy systems.

3)    Having experience in production implementations in corporate wide systems the trend of integration and solution architecture in corporate enterprise will be stronger than ever in 2013.

4)    Project management with know-how It's no longer enough for project managers to possess good people skills and to be fluent in tools and methodologies. To succeed , project managers need technical skills and need to understand the different type of personalities that are included in any organization.

5)    Business intelligence/logic analysis skills must possess the technical knowledge, business knowledge, and strong data and mathematical analysis skillset 

As I mentioned last year my favorite area of growth is Artificial intelligence and the consumerism of robots will begin in the next 3 years.

Check out this link:

http://mashable.com/2012/11/14/rise-robots-video/

Watch the robot trend things will change fast in the next 3 years

In the financial markets, this year’s Barron’s end of year magazine most financial experts predicted a 2013 sloppy growth, as a contrarian be very aggressive invest 100% in the stock market (my portfolio is 80 % Tech stocks and 20 % Energy), I expect big returns for the market. I believe all these analysts are too conservative with their analysis when it comes to the stock market. Interest rates will remain low, Stock market high.

Last piece of advice, negative news on tv, radio, internet is increasing at an exponential rate. Be a contrarian.

You are capable of extraordinary things. Be optimistic.

Optimism, therefore, is also an important component of achievement, and is especially important in times of chaos, change and turbulence. Those who have an optimistic outlook will roll with the punches, will be more proactive and persistent and will not abandon hope. Never forget ... Your Success is not an accident.

The Upgrade and new look for the Website is now completed ! Happy New Year

on Wednesday, 02 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 

The upgrade and facelift of the website went well, i am now using Joomla 3.0 and the back end database is a mysql database, also using web services to poll with other sites in real time like twitter.

Overall the planning and the execution went well, where i faced a challenge was on the data conversion where i took a decision to convert the data with a timestamp of January 1st , this allowed me to save a considerable amount of time and helped me accelerate the conversion of all articles and material from the older website, the other option was to manually import each article and material one by one where that would of taken me 2-3 days. The only drawback to this decision they will be earmarked as written on January 1st.

The site has now a friendly mobile twist to it and I have enabled comments to continue our two way communication in 2013.

Next steps I will work on enabling Video with youtube and finalize the tags for the site (Tags are a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information . This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching.)

As usual please provide me your comments on the site and suggestions once again a Happy 2013 filled with prosperity , health and happiness.

 

Predictions for 2009

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

In 2009 with an economic recession, here are my predictions, the message is quite simple ‘provide tangible value and business benefits’:

HOT areas

1) The business side of security will remain quite good, I don't foresee any slowdown since they are a rare breed and provide a good understanding of the business and technology areas.

2) Regulatory Compliance for obvious reasons since the Wall Street Debacle. Companies will make sure they are not cutting any corners

3) ERP-CRM with most companies investing a significant amount of their budgets in these systems, it should be another good year in the areas of IT efficiencies, upgrades and business process re-engineering, the trend will continue to retire most internal developed packages and purchase more standardized packages, this trend will continue and will keep on reducing the overall TCO.

4) BI and Analytical Applications will remain strong as companies embark into more metrics to help management stir there companies for 2009.

5) Open Source, after the dot com crash, open source became popular in the commercial and government markets, I see more companies embarking the road of free software. Most product companies will counter with a SaaS(Software as a Service) Pay as you go model as an alternative

AREAS that should be impacted

1) Application development: Oversupply and weak demand will continue to provide lower ROI and competition is become fierce, pricing and returns will continue to diminish.

2) Project management: PM tools have become mainstream and most corporations have already established there PMO office, this area looks it will begin to be optimized and challenged mostly do to the economic conditions and the tangible value it provides.

3) Hardware purchases and installations: Virtualization since 2007 has been growing rapidly and being adopted quickly, this will hurt the hardware market.

4) Offshoring models are not providing the ROI companies expected, I think this year the model may be overhauled.

Email me your feedbacks or your own 2009 predictions 

 

 

Highly recommended book 'Connecting the Dots' by Cathleen Benko and F. Warren McFarlan

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

The book speaks about organization decision frameworks, provides a good mix of practical and strategic advice. I found the book's frameworks easy to understand and functional; highly recommended, very interactive and a good cheat sheet of vocabulary to working through the often painful process of prioritizing our many ongoing and pending projects. Overall, the book gets you thinking about the importance of your project portfolio and how it can help you prepare for uncertainty. It then provides interesting tools and techniques for achieving greater alignment.

The book is an easy to read and engaging. Lots of historical references and analogies. Moreover, the book doesn't "preach at you", rather it understands that each business has it's own context. And recognizes that you don't need to adopt all their recommendations and techniques.

For theoretical thinkers, I'd read quickly chapter 6 Taming the future. They are for people who like to go through the details. I found Chapter 1 was a great overview and Chapter 4 provided concise summaries of all the tools and techniques. If you are looking for a practical but sound approach to producing results, I recommend this book.
 

If you do read the book, do not hesitate to email me any feedback.

 

Outsourcers are failing to understand Business and Technology Outsourcing

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Why so many outsourcers are failing to understand on how to provide a compelling offering in the areas of Technology and Business Outsourcing?  

In these compelling times, companies are going back to the basics, forget about your companies outsourcing template they want their outsourcing firms to demonstrate an ROI and provide metrics that confirm the ROI. A turn is happening mostly we are going back to the basics

Financial; give them ROI, lower their costs, and increase profits.
Productivity; efficiency, effectiveness and engagement
Governance: reduce company risk and maintain company assets 
 

Also they need to provide better documentation and accountability for total production in relation to the amount of money spend for the outsourcing services. 

Outsourcing firms have to become less reactive and more responsive. (I think the trend of the 10 year outsourcing contracts will be changing to a reduced 3 to 5 year term) 

Also another area, which needs improvement, is the lack of quality mostly because of the lack of business knowledge of the provider, understand the business and then provide your solution offerings.

 

Building your Business Case

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Companies should be laser-focused on making it easier for groups of people to do their jobs.  No if's and's or but's about it - that's their mission. 

To build a business case that can be actually delivered, IT professionals need to follow a systematic process for assessing the comprehensive return on investment (ROI) and identify an architecture that can deliver this ROI in measurable stages. The key steps are:

1- Identify the Business strategy (Mission, Vision, objectives and strategies and critical success factors)

2- Identify the extent of the existing Information System problems. This can be performed as starting point via SWOT to review a) business processes (Business processes cartography - Non automated or badly automated processes should be reviewed inline with business strategy and standards as well (SOX and others) – b) information and data architecture (identify the exact amount of duplicate, invalid, conflicting, and untrustworthy data. c) applications cartography d) technical architecture (Infrastructure) and standards (COBIT) e) Services level and emerging methods (ITIL) f) IT department organization (Processes, HR, competencies, training plans, recruiting…) - g) Security  

3- After completing step 2 which is critical to align IS & Business strategy, you may need to analyze the opportunities. At this stage, you need to analyze the IT market, products, and trends as well and proceed to a deep technology benchmarking.


4- You have by now all what you need to startup your long-term portfolio (3 years Projects which will cover Infrastructure, business applications or ERP, Business intelligence solutions, web services and so on.) and setup your action plan. You should be able to quantify a significant ROI and determine the appropriate TCO.

 

7 greatest challenges you can face on your consulting project

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

 

Every project comes with some baggage here are some challenges you may face on your project:

 

1. Setting good customer requirements, project expectation by balancing cost, quality and time. This usually centers on the client requirements communicated but the usual issue is what he has not communicated.

 

2. Getting the team motivated usually not a problem but when it becomes an issue, projects may miss their deadlines.

 


3. Managing change throughout the project, scope creeping and project changes must be handled in a systematic fashion.

4. Communication issues – misinterpretation, email, verbal

 

5. Non-constructive work environments

6. Finding the right balance between when to make decisions democratically and when to simply make the decision yourself

7 Defining clear metrics for project success (deadline, implementation, cost…)  

 

Great consultants have the following good habits

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my opinion to be a successful consultant you  need the following habits: 

1) Strong self-belief & persistence

2) They LISTEN and LEARN; Good ones know what they don't know and openly admit it. 

3) They are good at building teams and recruiting 'A' caliber people

4) They spend a lot of time talking to customers and potential customers to really understand their world and their needs

5) They talk and network with people who have done it before!

6) They are very good communicators and work at it

7) They are rational risk takers

8) They are creative

10 rules you must obey on any consulting project

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 

1.     Determine, on each engagement, who our clients are and directly ascertain their expectations for your performance.

2.     Analyze your clients’ needs and professional service requirements.

3.     Develop client service objectives that will enable you to fulfil your professional responsibilities, satisfy your clients’ needs, and exceed their expectations.  Prepare an appropriate client service plan to achieve these client service objectives.

4.     Execute the client service plan in a manner that ensures commitments are met, potential problems anticipated, and surprises avoided.

5.     Establish effective and creative communication, both internal and external, to enhance client perceptions of value and quality of our service.

6.     Provide management with insights on the condition of their business and meaningful suggestions for improvement.

7.     Continually broaden and strengthen your relationships with key management personnel to facilitate effective communication and foster client loyalty.

8.     Ensure that any professional, technical, or client service problem is resolved promptly with timely consultation in an environment of mutual respect.

9.     Obtain from the client, either formally or informally, a regular assessment of your performance.

10.  Receive fees that reflect the value of services provided and responsibilities assumed and are considered fair and reasonable by our clients.

 

 

Different Point of View

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

The beauty of having a different point of view is exactly that, having a different point of view.
If a person is offering an opinion that seems to be more of an off–the-cuff statement, it’s more beneficial to challenge the content rather than the individual. If approached in this manner, both parties will learn something. If a person is offering a point of view based on research and proven theory, I think you can have a good debate which can lead to new discovery. Nobody has the correct answer because everyone has different experiences. If you attempt to apply someone else’s experience as if it were your own you will have varying results and not necessarily positive ones. I prefer not to shadow anyone but at the same time use what I have learned from others and draw my own conclusion.

We can always agree to disagree but in the end at least you will have a great debate and learn something new, what ever that might be.

Minto Pyramid Principle

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog, BPM

 

Minto Pyramid Principle is a technique used for making decisions for business; it involves the use of diagrams and works through decision problems.

MPP (Minto Pyramid principle) is being widely used in consulting firms like (McKinsey,Deloitte, Gartner, etc…) and apart from them, I have not seen many clients trying to utilize this BDM (Business Decision Mapping) technique.

As consultants we structure our approach and communication logic around this and we are starting to see clients adopting similar flows and structure.

I still do not understand why companies are not recognizing MPP as a standard, there are many ways you can make logic flow but it is quite well structured within MPP.
There is no widespread knowledge about MPP. I have often used it to help clients in their thinking and critical communications. Most have never heard of it. I usually buy Minto's book for them and we go from there.

Here is a link to some interesting books on MPP

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barbara+minto

I think most companies can be helped by using MPP for business critical thinking.

The most important value comes from learning how others structure their thinking and it provides a clear workflow to the business issues, risks and decisions that need to be taken.

 

Methodology for project delivery success

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

 

In my experiences, you must evaluate 3 important points before selecting a methodology for your project. 1) Organization maturity meaning clear project definition and repeatable project processes 2) Resistance to change 3) Project size and business impacts

 

In my career, a methodology is a structured approach for project delivery; in the 1990’s we were talking about XP (Extreme programming) it faded a bit, but has made resurgence lately with agile gaining momentum also very popular in those times was prototyping. Early 2000’s, Sigma Six, ITIL, CMM and Waterfall became very popular.

 

I was asked the question which methodology would you use to increase your probability of success.

My definition of project success is defined as getting the project built on time and on budget. 

Failure from a management perspective is based upon exceeding initial budget, exceeding initial schedule, or not completing initial scope.  

Also Failure from a business value perspective is when the cost of the project exceeds its benefits. Usually, an ROI or a TCO is done based on a defined time period. I have not seen many organizations ever bother to measure actual return following deployment but this practice seems to gain popularity.

We always assume that we have an A team, the answer is not "agile " vs. "waterfall" development -- some experts like one, and some like another method. Organization maturity, clear project definition and repeatable project management processes often have much greater impacts on product delivery success.

While experts differ on the best software development method, most would agree that successful projects share the following characteristics (mentionned in the project survival handbook):

- project is approved and funded
- project has a business sponsor
- project has an IT sponsor
- project has clear objectives
- requirements are clearly written
- requirements are traced throughout the project life cycle
- key stakeholders are involved, and kept involved, throughout the project life cycle e.g., business, operations, subject matter experts, software end-users, etc.
- project plan is defined and adjusted as needed (see change management below)
- responsibilities are clearly defined
- people are held accountable for certain activities and deliverables
- project documentation is prepared
 and
 project risks and contingencies are defined
- communication and training occur at various steps of the project life cycle

 

Do not get bogged down which methodology you should use they all work, just make sure which one fits the best with your organization maturity and structure, the most important aspect do not expect any major difference on the project outcome when selecting one methodology over another.


 

 

 

Information Quality

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

 

Leading companies must implement a successful performance management framework and integrate it to their application architecture to improve on their information quality. Data especially in these times where financial data will be even more scrutinized, this data must be fitted and intended to be used in operations, decision making and planning for any type of business or corporation.

 application architecture

 
 

AR Closing Process

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 

Some of these steps are optional, but within most organizations the process should be as follows:
 
·         Complete All Transactions for the Period Being Closed
·         Reconcile Transaction Activity for the Period
·         Reconcile Outstanding Customer Balances
 ·         Review the Unapplied Receipts Register
·         Reconcile receipts.
 ·         Reconcile Receipts to Bank Statement Activity for the Period
 ·         Post to the General Ledger
·         Reconcile the General Ledger Transfer Process
·         Reconcile the Journal Import Process
·         Print Invoices
·         Print Statements (Optional)
·         Print Dunning Letters (Optional)
·         Close the Current Oracle Receivables Period
·         Reconcile Posted Journal Entries
·         Review Items that are not posted Report
·         Open the Next Oracle Receivables Period
·         Run Reports for Tax Reporting Purposes (Optional)
·        Run Archive and Purge programs (Optional)
 

The 5 project phases

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle Project Suite, Blog

 

 

On any of my projects I like to follow the following 5 project phases. 1) Project Preparation 2) Business Blueprint 3) Realization 4) Final preparation 5) Go Live and Support, it has helped me mitigate and manage risks and dependencies.

 

1) The project is initiated and the project team consisting of the client  and consulting personnel is put in place. The project charter and scope are confirmed and documented. The project work plan is developed.

 

2) Business requirements are gathered and captured in a process “blueprint” for the organization. End-user training plan is developed and the detailed implementation approach is determined. An evaluation of the Client IT landscape and the projected interfaces are defined.

 

3) The business and process requirements are configured within the Oracle system. Technical specifications are developed and programmed. Roles are mapped, skill gaps assessed, and training materials developed.  Integration testing is executed to confirm configured functionality conforms to business requirements.

 

4) Testing, end user training, data conversion, production system installation and site preparation are completed. All critical open issues are resolved and the organization is prepared for the “live” environment.

 

5) The organization transitions from a project-oriented pre-production environment to a live production operation. A change transition assessment is conducted and post-implementation support is provided.

 

COA Design

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

When working on the Chart of Account design for your implementation or upgrade, I use Excel to simplify my job especially for the mapping

accounts 

How important is teamwork on a project

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

In my experience teamwork has been an important aspect of the success for our projects, I have been lucky not to be involved in any ERP failures. No matter how good you are, the success of any COTS (Commercial off the shelf) application is a team effort.

 By using simple words like we, us, team the motivation and implication increases two folds.

Good ideas come from many areas, details that you may have missed may come from different perpectives or team members.

Also implicating and mixing functional and technical individuals in the same meeting may get the ball rolling on out of the box thinking or critical issues that may not have a straight answer.

Project success = Teamwork and Managing Change

 

Steps to maintain Tax books in FA

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 

1.Companies can Create as many Tax Books as are needed:
 
1) Associate the new Tax Book to a corporate book.
Choose a depreciation calendar.
Corporate and Tax Books can have different calendars.
2.2) Set up asset categories for the new Tax Book:
Define default depreciation rules for each category.
Categories in corporate and Tax Books have 1:1 mapping.
3.3) Initially add assets to new Tax Book using Initial Mass Copy.
4.4) Perform asset additions and maintenance in the corporate book.
5) Periodically update Tax Book with new assets and transactions from the corporate book. 
6.6) Run depreciation for the Tax Book.

Sales = Critical business cycle

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Put yourself in this situation. Your company's revenues have been flat lately and you've been handed one straight forward yet very challenging task: increase sales. It's time to prove yourself so you jump right in. You quickly throw together a generic brochure summarizing the company's services, create a list of every company in your area from A to Z, and then spend the rest of your budget on stamps and envelopes for a mass mailing. Then you sit back and wait for the orders to start pouring in. Then you wait some more. Then, before you know it, you're out on the hunt looking for your next exciting project opportunity. 

So what went wrong? The experienced sales professional will recognize your approach was not well thought out and did not meet the fundamentals of a successful sales methodology. You didn't identify which companies were in the greatest need of your services; you didn't use your network of personal and professional contacts; and you didn't tailor your material to match the company's unique needs. Sales are a process, not an event, and it requires a strategic, targeted and customized approach. 

However, a better way to think of it is that you're offering your services, skills and experience to help a company fulfill their current needs and provide value to their business. The more committed you are to following a sound sales process, the more success you will have landing your next great project. With that in mind, put on your sales hat and consider the following when starting your next project search: 

* Develop a strategy. Any sales initiative should start with a sound assessment of the goals. Once you've determined where you want to end up, you can start planning the steps you need to take to get there. 

* Define target companies. First, determine what type of company you want to sell to. What industry? Large or small? Start-up or well established? Second, do some research to determine which companies would benefit from your offerings and experiences. There's little value sending off your brochure to any random company that's out there. Remember, you have to be a good fit with the company and the company has to be a good fit for you. 

* Create a contact list. Identify those individuals in your personal and professional network and open up a channel of communication. These resources are very valuable and will help open the door to opportunities that may not have otherwise been available.

 * Customize your materials. Just as a successful sales professional would not send out the same generic information to every potential client. Explain why you are a good fit with their company and how your qualifications can address their specific needs and add value to their business. Submitting generic information sends the wrong message to the employer — that you're not really interested in them in particular but are just out looking for "any contract". 

* Present well & follow-up. It's your opportunity to confirm for the prospective contract that you will be able to provide the services required to address their business needs. Provide specific examples that demonstrate the value you can offer, ask the right questions to show your interest in the company and to learn more, and ensure you leave the meeting with a clear understanding of next steps. 

  Whatever your profession or field, whether finance, accounting, technology, operations or general management, the beginning of a project search is a good time to start thinking like a sales person. An important skill set to master throughout your career.

As a Manager who would you prefer - a smart performer or a hard worker?

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

Interesting question, yesterday I attended a local conference and I was asked would you hire a smart performer or a hard worker?

 

IMO, we hire people because we want things done, items produced, services performed. This means I require output, not necessarily hard work, if a smart solution saves time. I'll take a smart performer over a hard worker.

If a hard worker works his butt off, but doesn't get the job done, it is of no use for me. If a smart performer gets the job done without hard work, I am happy, I hire someone for the desired output, not just for the effort.

For example: a fireman who tries to extinguish the fire consuming your house tries real hard for two days -hard work, no sleep-, but you are still left with a ruin. Or a fireman who has a smart solution, extinguishes the fire in two hours and saves most of your house. Which one do you choose?

Trends in Project Management

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle Project Suite, Blog

The role is shifting into a dual function of the project management role, where project manager is both a manager and an analyst. This has always been the case in most:
*projects that require specialized skills, as in for example SAP, Oracle - modeling, simulation and analytics - regardless of the size of the organization;
*small organizations/ teams;
*Consulting organizations.

Some additional trends I am seeing:
*Globalization of project and programs
*Enteprise-wide project management technology tools (such as SharePoint and Project Server)
*Integration with other frameworks (Six Sigma, ITIL, etc.) to increase business efficiency and effectiveness
*Integration of project management with business objectives/goals (providing value and ROI to the business)
*Lots of soft skills and leadership training (strategic and creative thinking, conflict resolution, influencing others, etc.)

Also training that improves the thinking that takes place on a project to help improve the decision making. This improves the overall success rate of projects giving an excellent return on training investment. That helps ensure that the project managers and their key team members employ whole-brain thinking skills. Using all four thinking quadrants eliminates blind-spots and ensures higher levels of buy-in and support for decisions. It also lowers debates and regurgitation time in decision making processes.

Another emerging trend in PM is the use of Agile methods. Larger companies are starting to see some of the benefits of using the Agile method. 

 

 

 

 

 

What factors would a CIO or VP evaluate from a company before awarding the project?

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

 

 

 

In addition to the basic offering (can the vendor's approach meet the requirements), I like to look at the people that the vendor has on staff.

Take some time to interview the staff of the vendor and you'll soon find out which vendor is the best fit for your organization. If all things are equal on the business-technology front, the people will help pick the real winner.

  

I’ve sold many large projects to CIOs and VPs. They are generally looking for  individuals that can provide them with confidence.

- Does the vendor understand the project, goals, and environment?
- Can the vendor articulate their approach?
- What risks has the vendor identified and what is their plan to mitigate
those risks?
- Does the vendor have the skills, expertise, and experience to be
successful?
- Is the vendor trustworthy?
- Does the vendor have a professional appearance and presentation so that
they can speak with executives or the Board and do a good job
representing the sponsor?
- Does the vendor understand the alignment between the business goals
and the technologies being used?

 

The right vendor should be able to explain why their solution is the best solution, and why their solution is superior to their competitor's solutions.

The right vendor should be able to enhance the solution with ideas that haven't been brought to the table yet.

From my experience these are the key factors that lead to sales. They are far more important than price since the cost of failure is very high. Of course, you have to do an excellent job executing the project.

Success is the ultimate value proposition.


ROI (return on investment) should be addressed, either in money saved or revenue improved, or both.

The solution should have no unnecessary complications. There is a tendency today to create a complicated mix of server, middleware, and front-end that is usually hard to maintain and hard to migrate from.

There should be training options for end users and sysadmins at your company.

Their implementation staff should be able to think on their feet really well and answer all questions. There should be a closed process loop at the vendor that integrates sales and services and you should be able to talk to representatives from both sides of the company. Their sales team should be knowledgeable people - not just schmoozers who are charming.

Make sure that the implementation plan includes people from your company and make sure that you have an internal project manager with the power to halt implementation if the solution as delivered differs from the solution that was sold to your company.

Watch out for vaporware solutions. It is not uncommon for companies to sell a solution as something that they have already developed, when, in fact, they are really only going to send out consultants that create this solution on your dime.


Oracle AP important concepts

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 

The attached file explains the different concepts of Oracle Payables, the module helps sustain financial discipline,  regulatory compliance and optimize your business process.

 Oracle AP Download

 

Oracle AR Customer Overview

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 
The attached file explains the basics and intricacies of Oracle AR.

Key factors for success for a package implementation

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 
 
An Oracle or SAP implementation is always tricky, some points that I think may help in a successful implementation:
  
1) Proof-of-concept of the solution was done right at the beginning. Thus all product shortcomings and issues were surfaced way ahead of the game.
 
 
 
 
 
2) Engaging transparency and all groups concerned to review the architecture and provide deep technical support for all product issues
 
3) Architecting for horizontal expansion to support the voluminous requirements
 
 
 
 
 
4)Standard architecture across the board – exceptions had to be really exceptions
 
 
 
 
 
5)Having the client deeply involved right from the beginning helped a lot in issue escalation and resolution with the Oracle implementation 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Scheduling an Oracle project - Is full schedule really needed or we should use only "good-enough"?

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

 

I faced two models in general:

 

1) Full scheduling (requirements--> PBS--> WBS --> schedule) as it is taught in ERP training.

 


2) Only generic name of basic tasks, responsible, deadline (Most top consulting companies use this pragmatic approach for their implementations, upgrades, etc…

 

I find that keeping the scheduling process as simple as possible works best.

People who do not fully understand PM terms can be intimidated by such terms and this can lead to difficulties.

In my view point, a fully detailed schedule for the entire project is usually pointless because the level of uncertainty is too high to be of any real use.

Best practice is to divide the project into stages (or phases.) and produce a detailed schedule for the current stage, with an outline schedule for the rest of the project. This gives you the detail and accuracy to effectively manage the tasks at hand, and also the long-range forecast for delivering the entire project.

One of the tasks in each stage is to produce the detailed plan for the next stage. This is the real pragmatic approach because you are only putting the effort into a detailed plan when you need to, and when the level of certainty is as good as it can be.

Personally, I use placeholder tasks early on the in project - e.g. having a Transition stage which contains various testing, training and deployment summary tasks. Each summary task has a subordinate task called "placeholder" which has an estimated duration. This ensures that anyone reading the plan is clear that the detailed planning has not yet been done for that stage, while still providing some indication of the likely duration.

Most new methodologies follow this approach (Agile, Accelerated, FastTrack, etc..)
These approaches advocates "phases" called "Releases", a 3 month period in my world that enables me to set a meeting schedule, deliver a fairly accurate list of things that will be completed within the Release and discuss "Team Capacity" of the individuals involved taking into account vacations, other commitments, etc

 

 

 

 

The difference between MDM Systems and Data Warehouses

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

In many ways, the processes are similar to those used in populating a data warehouse or datamart, particularly with the consolidation style of MDM; however, there are differences:

Volume and Type of Data: MDM systems involve only the master data, not terabytes of transaction data (such as telecommunication companies' call detail records), which may need to be stored at the detail level, in addition to various levels of aggregation for analysis purposes.

Database Design: The master data is typically held in a relatively normalized form, whereasmany analytical systems depend on specialized designs, such as star schemas to improve analytical performance.

Use of the Data: MDM reconciles semantic differences to give a single view of master data,usually for operational purposes, which is independent of any single application system. Datawarehousing supports BI and analytics, but does not usually support transactional activities. MDM systems and data warehouses are complementary, and the introduction of MDM systems into the operational area should reduce the work required to integrate and consolidate master data as it's prepared for loading into the data warehouse.

Closing the deal

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 
A great salesperson has the following 10 qualities:

1. Integrity & Character: 100% honest, always transparent and represented himself and the organization with great class.

2. Tenacity: relentless in his pursuit of success, never giving up or allowing a set back to cause him hesitation in driving the business forward.

3. Adaptable: always flexible and embraced change.

4. Innovative: continually thought outside of the box for new and better ways to do things.

5. Self Aware: learned from his mistakes and built his confidence through his successes.

6. TEAM Player: subscribes to the "Together Everyone Achieves More" philosophy, never getting caught up in the exaggeration of personal recognition and reward.

7. Loyalty: never held myself or the organization hostage for more money by presenting a better opportunity that he may have had elsewhere.

8. Generalist: welcomed many hats and a broad range of responsibilities and accountabilities, never protecting his role as defined by a job description, was always willing to do more.

9. Macro/Micro: capable of high-level strategic thinking as well as flawless, hands-on execution of tactics.

10. Teacher: didn't protect information or use information as power, he taught others his skill sets, tranferring his knowledge to countless people within the organization thereby increasing the organization's bench strength.

Difference between enterprise, solution and application architects

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architect - Maps the business to the IT solution at the top level. Ensures all business objectives are met with the solution. This can include business processes, standards and best practices, reference models and can span multiple technologies and technical disciplines.

Solutions Architect - Drives the next level of the solution and typically focuses on the integration aspects into an enterprise of a specific component of the overall technical solution. IT can be one specific technology, application or component.

Application Architect - Just as it implies, it is your primary expert in a specified discipline or application.

Project and Enterprise SOA

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, SOA

 

 

 

It is usually necessary for practical reasons to break the SOA into different pieces; otherwise it becomes too big and complex to be useful. At least two levels of SOA (project and enterprise) are required in order to provide different levels of abstraction in an enterprise of any size.The distinction between the project SOA and the enterprise SOA is akin to the distinction between building or district architecture and city planning. While a project SOA provides an overview of the software services to be used by a particular project it also includes further details that are relevant to that project. The objective of the project architecture is to guide a particular project by declaring which existing services are to be reused and which are to be newly developed.

An enterprise SOA stretches across all the projects in an enterprise – or, more commonly, a significant sub-set of the enterprise. The objectives of the enterprise SOA are to set a vision for service orientation that transcends the traditional barriers between business and IT, taking a business-driven approach as indicated by most software providers. Individual project SOAs should conform to the enterprise SOA.

Depending on your platform here are some interesting links

Link to Oracle SOA

Link to SAP SOA

 

TTM is a key indicator for everyone

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

Time to market (TTM) is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until its being available for sale.

There are no standards for measuring TTM, and measured values can vary greatly. First, there is great variation in how different organizations define the start of the period.

Finally, TTM measurements vary greatly depending on complexity – complexity of the product itself, the technologies it incorporates, its manufacturing processes, or the organizational complexity of the project (for example, outsourced components).

Some companies have been successful in putting their products into categories of newness, but establishing levels of complexity remains elusive.Companies pursue TTM improvement for a variety of reasons. Some variations of TTM are

  • Pure speed, that is, bring the product to market as quickly as possible. This is valuable in most industries.
  • Minimizing resources, especially labor. Many managers figure that the shorter the project the less it will cost, so they attempt to use TTM as a means of cutting expenses.
  • Product innovation is intimately tied to change, and often the need for change appears midstream in a project.

These types of TTM illustrate that an organization’s TTM goals should be aligned with its business strategy rather than pursuing speed blindly.

For customers using Oracle Applications R12, it is important to properly understand the new Fusion middleware that allows for Master Data Management and integration with process management using BPEL , business rules, ESB, Enterprise connectivity,etc.

Most customers should not always move blindly to customize your Oracle Applications. With the arrival of SOA, the business should be dictating to IT what tools they need to be more efficient and not vice versa.

According to Gartner, Oracle's Fusion middleware

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

According to Gartner, Oracle's Fusion middleware is a leader within the middleware market.

gartnermiddleware

The new project X

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog


"What is Project X? - the Oracle application integration architecture.

An open platform for integration - integrate Oracle applications, other vendors applications, and custom applications.

They are defining Core Objects - defining hundreds of business objects. Extend the objects by industries, customers can extend the objects. Extensions will be preserved across upgrades. This direction will be the genesis of Fusion.

Pre-built BPEL - example, integrate Siebel to Oracle. They will provide prebuilt integrations across applications using Open, standards based.

This strategy is based around their middleware - they compared themselves against netweaver. They are more complete and follow standards.

They think they can build the integrations better because they have the infrastructure and applications.

For more information, go to www.Oracle.com/applications/project-x.html.

"Like the mainframe, ERP (enterprise resource planning) software soldiers on, though companies complain bitterly about its inflexibility. Oracle just took a significant step toward softening that rigidity with its new Application Integration Architecture (AIA), announced by Oracle president Chuck Phillips at the company's Collaborate '07 User Group Conference.

AIA is a framework in which the functionality of Oracle's vast application portfolio -- Oracle E-Business, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and JD Edwards -- can be recombined and tailored to enterprise needs. To jumpstart this, and deliver business process expertise, the company is creating Process Integration Packs (PIPs), which are pre-built workflows that embody horizontal or vertical sets of business processes. The first two, available now, integrate Siebel CRM with the Oracle E-Business Suite.

Oracle vice president of development and strategy Jose Lazares described AIA as "an open standards-based platform that we expect to be leveraged by Oracle, our partners, and our customers to deliver best practices and industry-specific, cross-application business processes." The PIPs draw on the functionality of Oracle's Fusion middleware and are "prepackaged and delivered as products that can be sustained and delivered over time." According to Lazares, the first PIP verticals will be telecommunications, resale, financial services, consumer packaged goods, and high-tech manufacturing.


The announcement appears to target hardcore Oracle shops that already license multiple Oracle applications -- and have the stomach for multiple PIP licenses as well. But the potential for greater flexibility is there, because both the PIPs and the Oracle applications interoperate using standards that are application-independent. Ultimately, Oracle wants to create an ecosystem of third parties that can license their solutions in the AIA mix.

"Any application within our portfolio and/or third party application can be plugged in, as long as they map to the common object model and service definition," said Lazares. "Ultimately, system integrators, ISVs, and can actually start to build out capabilities beyond just the context of Oracle applications." The BPM tools included with Oracle's Fusion middleware offering can be used by customers that want to create new pr's ocesses or connect to third party applications. To do so, however, they will need a full license for Oracle's SOA Suite. "

I see no benefits in the short term but I think Oracle is starting to get it and I think it is a big first step in the right direction for product integration and a first open source platform for Oracle.

The division between IT and Business will dissapear

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

 

Companies today must protect themselves from security breaches, failed audits, malware, regulatory compliance, and theft of corporate and client data. New regulations and compliance requirements have necessitated the convergence of IT operations and security initiatives. A Gartner report recently noted that 'the elimination of desktop, server and network vulnerabilities requires a coordinated effort between the IT security and operations groups, because security touches everything and any IT activity should be influenced by security'. Standard perimeter defenses are no longer enough to protect businesses from new and more sophisticated threats. Until now, the industry has lacked centralized security solutions integrated with existing systems management solutions, built on a configuration management database.

There must be a diminishing of the division between IT and business, and this can only be achieved when IT assets are measured by the service they can provide to the organization.  

The industry should work collectively to address the need for convergence of security and system management technologies, to further reduce the cost and complexity of securing technology assets. These technologies should provide compliance assurance to satisfy an increasing number of regulations and harden systems against security breaches. Besides that, data needs to be protected to maintain employee productivity, and prevented from getting into the hands of thieves and malicious employees. Finally, threat mitigation to prevent malware from propagating and exploiting systems is another essential component.

That is why I am a believer that both services will be united in the next four years companies will have no choice to integrate business with IT.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

SOA will dramatically change our working environments. Oracle SOA suite is the beginning of standards-based applications that are secured, managed and governed , and are spawned

by changes like Mergers & Acquisitions, regulatory compliance, and increased competition.  

With this in mind, we introduce the concept of a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

 

What is SOA it is a design blueprint for applications within an enterprise.
 

 

Corporations will adopt SOA, to increase their business agility, for faster response changes, increased technology asset reuse, reduced integration expenses, reduced business risk & exposure

The ability of SOA to change, evolve, and manage business processes throughout an

enterprise is changing the way IT works. SOA is enabling IT to operate as a

business unit. Alignment and accounting for IT investments is now based on business

strategies and transactions. SOA in an enterprise will identify and highlight

business dependencies and encourages cooperation and communication between

business units and IT.

 

SOA uses Services. Corporate applications evolve into organized collections of what are

referred to as “business services”. Looking at these applications from a service

orientation perspective closely maps to business initiatives and processes. So a

service can be payroll, or extending credit, or adding a new customer—it’s no longer

only a technical transactional process.


A well architected SOA provides top to bottom management visibilityof existing web services, so one doesn’t go on a “scavenger hunt” for any given

application. A SOA provides for a more rapid method of distributing applications and

increased agility. By leveraging, and the reuse of existing enterprise software,

infrastructure, and networking/bandwidth, the costs of custom integration and

interoperability are lowered. Manual tasks are reduced or eliminated. Compliance

within an organization’s industry is accomplished by exposing business

processes and reducing risks. For even greater cost savings, these

business services are reusable for many different applications both within and outside

of the enterprise without costly changes.

Most corporations have started to plan and implement a SOA adoption.

Oracle 12i is here

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Oracle apps password security decryption issue

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle and Security, Blog

Most Oracle Applications 11i implementations are vulnerable to a significant security weakness in the encryption of passwords within the application where an insider may be able to circumvent all application controls by accessing any application account or obtain the APPS database account password. This issue is really a "perfect storm" with the convergence of (1) an inherent architectural weakness in the application, (2) generally accepted insecure operational procedures for ad-hoc query access and cloning, and (3) multiple examples of effective, easy to execute exploit code for decrypting application passwords.

The file attached explains the issue in more detail and provide some tips how to avoid these type of issues. 

Apps_password 

Launch date released

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

For those who attended any e-Business Suite Release 12 sessions at Open World this past October, you will recall that one of the most frequently asked questions was “When is Release 12 going to be available?”.

Well, there is no need to ask any longer.  According to the Oracle Events Website, Oracle will be holding an “unprecedented event in the history of business software” where they will be launching five new releases of their business applications software products around the world.  The product launches include:

  • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12: The Global Business Release
    Presented by Steve Miranda, Senior Vice President, Applications Development
  • PeopleSoft Enterprise Release 9.0: The Extended Value Release
    Presented by Doris Wong, Vice President and General Manager, PeopleSoft Enterprise
  • Siebel Release 8.0: Proactive CRM
    Presented by Ed Abbo, Senior Vice President, CRM Products
  • JD Edward s Enterp riseOne Release 8.12: The Continued Innovations Release
    Presented by Lenley Hensarling, Vice President and General Manager, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
  • JD Edwards World Release A9.1: The World Renaissance Release
    Presented by John Schiff, Vice President and General Manager, JD Edwards World

    The event will be hosted by Charles Phillips, Oracle President, and John Wookey, Oracle Senior Vice President, Applications Development, and will be held at the Hudson Theater in New York.  Personally, I don’t plan on attending, but will be following the event closely and will post any relevent information here on the blog.  Post a comment if you plan on attending the event.  It looks like 2007 will be an exciting year for those of us involved with Oracle business application software and related technologies.

Sarbanes Oxley and Oracle

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

The Oracle ERP are reaping the benefits of this new security law. Oracle version 11.5.10 and above are now SOX compliant, many North American customers are looking to upgrade or install the following versions.

What is Sarbanes-Oxley: It is one of the most significant changes to federal securities laws in history; it has been difficult and expensive to implement for publicly traded U.S. companies; and it is here to stay. Despite its drawbacks and costs, Sarbanes-Oxley has helped boost shareholder confidence, and it may even boost shareholder value by helping companies operate more efficiently going forward. 

The consequences for failing to comply with certain provisions range from fines to imprisonment. consequential as SOX is, it is one section of the law that really got the attention of the executive suite. Section 404 of the act requires both the management of publicly held companies and their outside auditor firms to report on the effectiveness of the company's internal controls. Another requirement, Section 302, mandates that executives be personally responsible for financial reports, requiring their signature on the documents.

The overall increase in financial scrutiny, coupled with this new, up-close and personal tie between executive and the corporate information being disseminated by corporations--and the costs associated with it--has sparked an ongoing debate in boardrooms across the country. Earlier this year, Financial Executives International (FEI), surveyed 217 public companies and found that it took an average of 26,000 additional staff hours and about $4.3 million to fully comply with Section 404. The SEC originally estimated the tab to be $91,000 per company. Fortunately, the initially onerous financial burdens of Section 404 are now dropping. According to a recent survey conducted by the Big Four accounting firms, large public companies--over $700 million in revenue--will see their Section 404 compliance costs drop by approximately 42% in 2007; most of it related to costs incurred in the initial year for documenting internal controls.Over the course of this year, I've met with FEI member companies, auditors and committee members to discuss what lessons have been learned, and what can be done to further streamline the compliance process, further reducing costs for 2007 and beyond.The professionals repeatedly sounded two themes: details and risk. Originally, many companies and external auditors tested every process and control, even at the transactional level. But most are now moving away from such scrutiny of routine transactions, which are considered low-risk. Instead, resources are being focused on the testing of mid-level or companywide controls, putting the emphasis back into longer-term and big-picture issues by utilizing a more efficient, risk-based approach.This approach levels the playing field and adheres to capital market philosophy, by rewarding the most efficient companies and their shareholders with greater returns.

 Beyond the accounting specifics of SOX 404 implementation, smart financial managers are also looking for opportunities to leverage 404 compliance work to enhance the overall business reporting process. This is especially true of large, multinational companies that can use SOX implementation as a vehicle to gain more consistency across business functions and geographies.

 The first year of Sarbanes-Oxley was costly and no doubt painful for many, particularly for small- and micro-cap companies. But it is here to stay, and in typical free-market fashion, innovative, well-managed businesses have learned how not only to navigate the daunting regulations, but also to use the new rules to improve business operations.

Oracle R12 upgrade preparations highlights

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

In preparation for an Oracle R12 upgrade, work is focused in three areas: testing, code remediation, and transition preparation. The testing effort willbe performed, over the coming months, exercise every key function of the system multiple times, involving many testers from various departments. 

 

Code remediation is the process by which system enhancements and customizations that work under Oracle actual version and modified to work with Oracle upgraded version. Usually thousands of code objects must be evaluated, modified, and tested prior to being delivered for integrated testing. Transition preparation includes many of the steps necessary for a successful and smooth upgrade, such as installing upgraded server hardware, training preparation, and communicating with the end user community.

 

What kind of changes and disruptions can you expect? Upgrades of complex systems are not without risks and impacts, but mitigating those risks and planning for the impacts is at the core of any upgrade project.

 

The overall user experience should not change much.

 

The primary impact of the transition to a newer Oracle R12 version is most likely be the need for a system outage, sometimes referred to as a “dark period.” This is a time during which Oracle and some other applications will be unavailable for either data entry or viewing. The implementation team must work to minimize the duration and impact of the outage, but with my experience the ballpark figure for very large global systems is five days—a weekend plus three working days.It is important to be up-front about this disruption with your client, for smaller clients it can be done over a long weekend.

 

I will finish up by saying a successful upgrade has 3 milestones.

 

  • Repeatability, and lots of testing
  • Upfront with the client
  • Senior consultants and personnel who are well aware of the intricacies of the Oracle applications.

What is Oracle Fast Forward?

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Oracle FastForward is a rapid, low-risk implementation approach that will allow you to leverage the functionality of Oracle while keeping costs in check.
Oracle’s FastForward offering are available for the Financial, Manufacturing, Distribution and Human Resources modules. 

Fast Forward is targeted for the needs of midsized companies by combining the elements of traditional implementations—structured methodology, business process re-engineering and customizations —with project accelerators such as vanilla software implementation, 100 percent Internet-based applications and predefined application structure.

The software comes pre-configured and with a  fixed-scope approach, this reduces the complexity and cost of traditional, largescale implementations and brings them within the reach of mediumsize enterprises.

The implementation time varies between 30 to 120 days.

The approach is the same for the new Rapid Pre-configured Model (RPM) strategy . These type of implementations are usually fix bid since the risk factor is low.

 

SOA Architecture Strategy

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture, Blog, SOA

Use industry best practices any new integration solution should be designed using SOA and principles.

 

 

 

  • Create services to represent business processes not API’s or methods.
  • Provide visibility to web services through a published web service catalog.
  • Modularize services by functionality, maintaining independence and therefore flexibility.
  • Use schema standards such as Open Applications Group (OAG) and design patterns to ensure technology agnosticism.
  • Divide processes into atomic single purpose independent services.
  • Ensure loose-coupling of systems by separating system specific translations and functions from generic business process services.
  • Utilize tools that readily enable SOA: WebLogic Integration (WLI) in conjunction with an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

Data Architecture Guiding Principles

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Business Intelligence

 

 
These guiding principles provide direction but also serve as criteria for evaluating proposed solutions and opportunities:

 

One version of the truth

Create a single set of data used for analytic reporting which is correct and consistent across the enterprise. Look at MDM emphasize on your critical data 

 

 

Work from a single logical vision

Build a single logical BI model/architecture that is agreed upon and provides a common goal for building or modifying physical systems

 

 

Standardize on a set of BI tools

Minimize costs by avoiding duplicate licensing and environments
Create a consistent experience at all levels (tool is not important SAP, Cognos, Oracle, BO,STANDARDIZE)

 

 

Maximize flexibility with modular architecture

Minimize specific tool dependency issues
Reduce future development and maintenance costs significantly

 

 

Build, Deploy and Refine in iterations

Achieve incremental benefits
Accelerate business adoption through reduced development time

 

 

Base data transfer and storage on reporting needs

Avoid the transfer and storage of data that does not meet a current or planned analytic reporting need
Meet business needs for data timeliness

 

 
 

Starting up a business

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Yesterday having dinner with a long time friend, the topic of starting up an innovative new idea as a startup was discussed. Having my own business since the late 90’s, here is some advice I shared with my friend on startups: 

1. Your idea isn't new. Pick an idea; at least 80 other people have thought of it. Get over your stunning brilliance and realize that execution matters more.

2. If you're successful, people will try to take advantage of you. Hope that you're in that position, and hope that you're smart enough to not fall for it.

3. People will tell you they know more than you do. If that's really the case, you shouldn't be doing your startup.

4. Perfection is the enemy of good enough. Leonardo Da Vinci could only paint the Mona Lisa once.  

5. Outsource effectively, or be effectively outsourced.

6. Do you thrive on stress and ambiguity? This is a must for any entrepreneur.

7. The best way to get outside funding is to be successful already. Brainless but true.


8. People will think your idea is awful. They're probably right. The only way to prove them wrong is to succeed.

9. A startup will require your complete attention and devotion.

The Critical Scoping and Planning Phase

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

 
The initial phase of any scoping project must be well understood and organized. Here is how I would approach a new scoping and planning phase for ERP, CRM or EPM project.
Scoping
Do not hesitate to email me your feedbacks or call me to discuss 

Strategic Project Metrics

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

As a CIO or CTO I would prefer six or less metrics that are true indicators of organizational performance and execution.

If the PMO does not use critical chain project management then I will not trust percentage complete metrics as they will usually be skewed and not tell the real story with issues.

Be careful using the distribution of projects by RAG (red/amber/green) status is out-of-date mostly do to the subjective nature of the distribution.

I like to focus on before the fact metrics that address unique organizational constraints and help the org elevate and diminish them preemptively.


 

Quick analysis on the stimulus

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 The US and Canadian government have recently passed stimulus packages. When looking at it from the taxpayer position. Some basic economic questions have not been answered: 

According to President Obama, his $800-billion stimulus plan will create four million jobs. If I’ calculated this right and got all the zeros accounted for, that’s $200,000 per job. 

 

 My fundamental question if we do not spend any stimulus what is the job baseline? How are we going to measure the success of the money spent? Second, who chooses the baseline? The baseline is a forecast and therefore intrinsically iffy. But if you know you’re going to be judged by the baseline then it should be public information and available to all taxpayers. 

The way success should really be measured, of course, is against a counterfactual baseline. Figure out where employment would go over the next couple of years without the stimulus package and then watch to see whether real-world employment is four million better over the next couple of years.  I am not an expert (economist) in the field, but I think creating long term jobs is more difficult than simply throwing money to the problem. 

I argue that deficit spending has no effect on employment since what is gained in the public sector is lost in private. I also believe jobs gained now will be lost later, when taxes are raised to pay interest on our gigantic new government debt.  The bigger issue we are facing is the fear mongering on a daily basis and the effect on psyche. 

Our previous government did three things to skyrocket the debt from $5.7 trillion to $10 trillion 

1 Lowered taxes on the super rich (Around 3 trillion)

2 Invaded Iraq instead of winning in Afghan-Pakistan (another $900 Billion)

3 Deregulated Wall Street speculators, Bailout is now over 1 trillion 

Being a proud father of 2 kids, the next generation will most likely not experience the same quality lifestyle or services that we have enjoyed.

 

15 Items that should be tackled when dealing with enterprise applications

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

 
Planning to implement an enterprise application such as SAP or Oracle you needs proper validations and requirements. Here is what I recommend as a preliminary checklist:

Scope Checklist

Item # Description Due Date Recommended Action Date Completed
1 Project scope is clearly documented.      
2 Project scope is clearly understood.      
3 A project charter has been developed and signed off by Deloitte and by the client.      
4 The project charter follows project management guidelines.      
5 The project charter is inclusive enough to cover risk.      
6 The project charter is reviewed and updated as needed.      
7 A scope management strategy is in place.      
8 A change request process exists.      
9 A change request log exists and is regularly updated.      
10 A file is maintained of change request forms.      
11 The impact of change requests is determined through quantitative analysis and is fully documented.      
12 A change control and tracking process and tool is in place.      
13 A process exists for communicating project scope and scope changes to team members.      
14 The status of change requests is regularly communicated to the project team and steering committees.      
15 The financial impact of scope changes is accurately determined.      

 

Critical Design Process

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

enterprise design process

Security Architecture Approach

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

 Please note I have been lately putting my latest blogs in a picture format mostly because my content has been copied onto other websites without my consent.

architecturesecurity

Project Management Keep it Simple

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

 

Simplify your project manager and program manager position within your organization.

Companies in my humble opinion have misunderstood the role of project managers and program managers.

Stop the buzzwords and keep it simple, a project manager manages a specific project to create a product or a service which brings some added value and a program manager oversees multiple projects that lead to improvements within the organization.

The important point to master is How to manage multiple projects? 

The approach that works best for me is to start a project inventory within the system you use. That way you can track the feasibility study, proof of concept, cost/benefit etc, and right from the start. I think it is imperative that all stakeholders face reality. Otherwise you as a project manager get blamed for not meeting fantasy objectives, and you stress over other people's unrealistic objectives and fantasies. It takes some sitting back, away from the immediate fires, to evaluate the demands and resources available to meet project objectives

 

I even have a project called prospecting where I track the time and the feasibility of these projects. This approach helps me plan projects that actually become reality. Try it and send me your feedback.

 

 

Enterprise Project Guiding Principles

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

 

The following higher level “Guiding Principles” should be used to help shape key decisions as to which software components would deliver functional requirements to a Business Transformation.  Underpinning these guiding principles are some design principles that address specific areas of the solution. These design principles at a higher-level principle are:

             Buy vs. Build - Where possible use a suite rather than the development of bespoke applications. This helps to reduce delivery risk and total cost of ownership;

             Configuration, not Customization - The approach should emphasize “Configuration” rather than “Customization”.  This will help to reduce the implementation timescales, reduce some of the risk associated with software development, and make future changes easier to undertake;

             Good Enough vs. Best of Breed - Solutions should be selected based on them being "Good Enough" to meet Business Needs rather than selecting "Best of Breed."  This prevents over-engineered solutions that deliver minimal additional business benefit;

             Integrated, Resilient and Robust Technology Architecture – The approach to the choice of hardware, software and operating systems should be based on:

             The need to provide architecture that is aligned to the Clients Corporate Technology Framework; (important to listen and respect roadmap)

             The need to provide architecture components that are recognized as reliable choices for mission critical business solutions;

             The need to integrate new architectural components with existing applications using a robust and open middleware platform; and

             The need to minimize data duplication and minimize the risk of loss of data quality.

             Use of Open Standards – The approach to the suggested System Architecture should be based on the use of open standards wherever possible to minimize development time and costs as well as providing a future proof architecture.  In addition, the use of open standards ensures that the resources required to implement and support the architecture going forward do not require specialized knowledge of particular (proprietary) standards.  This minimizes the associated learning and development costs, allowing the focus to be on delivering the functionality required by Business Transformation.

 

Interesting book living to 100

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

Just finished reading a fun book on living to 100 most of it was more or less general knowledge such as men's waist line, diet, have a purpose in life, no stress, eat a healthy breakfast, physical activity. One thing got me by surprise that i was not aware, people that have many friends and a larger circle of friends tend to outlive people by at least 10 years that have a just a few friends, and also married men tend to die before men that have never been married by 7 years in average.  Another interesting point, those with more than 12 years of education -- more than a high school diploma -- can expect to live to 85; for those with 12 or fewer years of education, life expectancy is 76.

 Why do women live longer than men? is brought up and they talk about the chromosomes how women have two X's, and men X anY, and how aging and damage, they have a choice in terms of genes — either on one X chromosome or the other.

It also emphasizes throughout the book how staying thin increases dramatically your life expectancy.

 

Asset Workbench Process Overview

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 

 
Use the Assets Workbench windows to add new assets to the system, and to perform transactions, such as retirements, adjustments, source line adjustments, and transfers. The workbench can also be used to review asset detail, financial, and assignment information.
asset

The top 5 most critical communication skills for a Project Manager are:

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

IMHO 
1. Effective writing - using clear, unambiguous, non-threatening, commonly understood English (the technical language of business worldwide)
2. Listening - not just hearing but truly listening to what the speaker means
3. Compassion/Empathy - being able to manage a project team while at the same time being empathetic to life's incredible unplanned "emergencies" that crop up when dealing with people
4. Passion and enthusiasm that inspires the team to row the boat all in the same direction.

5. Avoid always being status quo, during any enterprise project you must stand your ground and take decisions that you believe is in the best interest of your project. (Avoid Group Think sometimes its hard and usually creates costly overruns)

Really a combination of all the above mentionned is required  but  demonstrating your passion in effort and  quality will garantee a great team approach and may create a high performance team.

A Forrester  study states, 60-95% of defects in delivered interfaces can be traced directly back to poor requirements, and 40% or more of a software developer's time is spent doing rework. Use a prototype approach or methodologies like SCRUM that forces both parties to speak to each other at a regular shorter time interval.

Lessons learned

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

 

 

At the conclusion of your enterprise project, stakeholders including members of the project committee, business unit deployment teams and super users should be interviewed.  They share their experience of the project and their views on its success.  They also make suggestions for improvement.  The full results are contained in a company template Lessons Learned document. Following is a short list of certain observations that helped us to a successful project: 

Factors contributing to success
Effective, engaged sponsorship at local and executive level.  The Business Units made resources available and took the initiative in testing, training material review, design & production configuration.  We also used multiple vehicles to ensure recognition of effort.
Dedication of the team, both delivery & business.  They gave 150% to go live on time.
Ability to access senior management in order to push forward when needed.
Weekly Business status update conference calls helped build understanding, acceptance and commitment during deployment.

Oracle EBS project deliverables

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

IMHO, the Oracle deliverables that should be documented for most enterprise projects are as follows: 

Project Plan (PMP)Structure
Strategies: Testing Strategy, Deployment Strategy, Communication Strategy
System Test: Tests Scripts, Tests Results, Delivery Tests,Test Results, Conversion Results
Implementation documentation : Identification of Jobs and processes, To-Be processes, Operating Procedures, Installation Guide ,Configuration Guide, Setup Table Maintenance Guide
Client deliverables: Local RollOut, Training & Communication ,  InfrastructurePerformance testing,Access & Security guidelines 
Project Closeout: Closeout with project metrics and Project Audit (Lessons Learned)
 

3 dimensions for successful business transformation

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Ownership: Key decisions related to the desired state.

At strategic level, focused on the overall business model, business processes and business case.At operational level, focused on detailed blueprint in support of the business model, such as: organization structures, business procedures, technical design, etc.

Sponsorship: Mobilization towards desired state and delivery of benefits.

At strategic level, focused on aligning organizational priorities and promoting the change. At operational level, focused on supporting groups of employees during the transition  (change at individual level) and integrating new processes and organizations as designed.

Deployment: Implementation of the tools (systems and procedures) in support of the desired state.

At strategic level, focused on ensuring alignment between the tools as deployed and the business model as well as securing the resources required for the deployment.At operational level, focused on coordinating all activities required for a successful deployment (training, cut-over, data cleansing, etc.)

Why are we scared of RISK

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

The ability to forecast accurately is central to effective strategy planning. If the forecast tends to be wrong, the real costs and opportunity costs can be detrimental, on the other hand if they are correct they can provide great benefit. Success demands commitments that are hard to copy hard to reverse configurations of resources and capabilities that are aligned with the competitive conditions of the market.

Forecasting thanks to most graduate schools has become a standard. That is under utilized or mis-understood, it is not a science or an art.

Who dares wins, IMO each company should re-invent their strategy every 2 years, challenge the thinking about the future that we cannot see clearly from a hierachy perspective this area is the responsibility of senior management and not the regular employee.

 

 

Priority Definition

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

 

 
A solution will be unable to fully address all the needs of all users 
Ranking and prioritizing each application requirement will allow the business to accurately evaluate and score each response
The following tables and outlines a possible framework you can use for your enterprise project for prioritizing the required application functionality:

 

Priority
Description
‘Must have’
Functionality is a component of the current system capability
Functionality is critical to executing key business processes and procedures
Functionality is aligned with the business strategy
Functionality is necessary to execute on planned and in-progress initiatives
‘Nice to have’
Functionality would facilitate or support current business processes
Functionality may be incorporated into operations in the next 2-4 years
‘Future Potential Requirement’
Functionality is not required to execute current operations or near-term strategies
Functionality may or may not be incorporated into operations in the future

 

 

Insourcing trends and tips

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

 

As organizations are realizing the ROI (return on investment) is sometimes not theyre when it comes to outsourcing your services, companies are re-evaluating their strategy. When you outsource services, it is usually non-core business activities such as IT, HR, Support. Most consulting firms such as IBM usually impose a certain process and methodology but most important you lose control and your agility on speed and business agility. In the saturday paper of the NY Times, insourcing has been on the rise this year as outsourcing services especially in technology has fallen by 30% this year some of the reasons cited was quality, rigid outsourcing processes and failed to return the savings promised.

Create a business case and be conservative with your numbers, understand the value of outsourcing and the impacts it will cause on your agility to deliver and your control of business change . Perform a Delta analysis of your company to help you analyze both options. Leverage R&D and government credits for the insourcing option.

Last thing when you outsource certain technologies your innovation may suffer, difficult decisions need to be analyzed and it some cases outsourcing is the right answer, just be careful and position this option with your vision and strategy. Most large consulting firms will start offering SAAS for their ERP, in my opinion this option will not make sense for most corporations since it will limit functionality by specific industry for them to leverage a one size fits all model. These integrated ERP systems have become the central nervous systems for most organizations and hard to transform back into a one size fits all model without impacting your business.

Real cost of cloud computing services

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

Cloud computing in a simple manner means internet computing, previously in 1999 it was called on-demand, 2004 SAAS Software as a service, and now cloud computing. This is not a new concept, it has been around for a decade. After all the cloud idea came from the image used to display the concept of internet in diagrams.

 

What cloud computing does it reallocates upfront costs for hardware and software, but spreading such expenditures over years will eventually catch up to your bottom line, and you still may face the same issues as internally such as data protection and content management.

 

Cloud computing cost usually creep up over time, and in my experiences the cost of cloud in the long term over the savings encompassed with servers, network infrastructure, software licenses and staff to configure the servers may be overblown and the loss of business control may not always make it a long term solution.

 

Respect the limits of your client abilities

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

In my experiences, I have noticed you can come up with the most brilliant strategy in the world, it wont help you if your organization can't implement it.

If your football team does not have a strong offensive line, there's no point in running the ball in the middle. Slow down and understand your client, be careful what you promise, engage your client in the process, always pluck the low hanging fruit to start the buy in process.

 When gathering data, facts are always friendly, be prepared  when conducting interviews guide and listen only. Most important don't re-invent the wheel. Most important keep the information flowing and always adjust to your clients ability to deliver.

 

 

 

Gathering Requirements

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Blog

The most difficult part of requirements gathering, is not the act of recording what the users want; it is the explanatory, developmental activity of helping users figure out what they want.

Steps to follow to develop your requirements

1- Identify key users who have the credibility to define the requirements for the software, then interview to get a set of requirements.

2- Build and show a simple interactive prototype

3- Fully extend the prototype to all functionality of the software.

4-Baseline the specs and put it under change control

5-Write the documentation and write a seperate non-user interface requirements for algorithms, interactions with other hardware and software, also put this document under change control.

Be sure the users understand that the prototype is just a prototype. One risk of creating a Prototype is accidentally raising unrealistic expectations about the future progress of the project.

 

Popular thinking brings only average results

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

 

In my experiences when dealing with ERP-CRM implementation projects, we limit our success when we adopt popular thinking, we must reject common thinking if we want to be successful and accomplish great results within our projects. Why is popular thinking bad?

 

1)      Popular thinking loves the status quo, it puts its confidence in the idea of the moment, and it resists changes and dampens innovation.

2)      ERP projects are about transforming or improving your way of doing business, a successful ERP implementation should provide better business intelligence, streamline business operations, reduce costs, and ultimately help you grow your business.

 

Popular thinking has often been proved wrong and restrictive for business transformation projects.

 

Some ways to question popular thinking

 

1) Think before you follow (don’t follow automatically, we tend to take the path of least resistance, do not fear rejection, we need to think what is best and not what’s more popular

 

2) Appreciate others thinking and always criticize your own thinking

 

3) Try things in new ways (always seek new options)

 

Consulting companies win when they control the buying process

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

One way to control the buying process  is with Project Management Techniques. Most of the top rated firms most of the times try to enforce Project Management on their projects. Why? This allows the control of information and empowers the consulting firm to generate more business by understanding the pains, reasons for the pain and to propose future projects. A good situational knowledge of the company by defining the companies pain points and helping them re-engineer their vision is always welcomed by the buyer.

Another great way to solution sell is to build a rapport and a relationship with the decision makers. Our human emotional side make us vulnerable and the top rated consulting firms have understood this principle. Also you increase your win odds when you follow the companies process and engage that relationship with the sponsor.

As more and more firms enter the market and they usually offer similar services at a lesser cost, it will force the consulting sales cycle process to change.

Some points to take into effect is to minimize the Sales Powerpoint showing how great you are (Most clients have probably googled your product or used it before), and customize your solution sell by trying to answer some of these questions.

1) What element of the customers business will be impacted and measured?

2) How much impact and value if possible and over what period of time?

3) What capabilities will be needed?

4) When will the investment pay itself off?

Supplement as needed using the three question types (Open, Control, Confirming) 

To finalize the sales cycle, create a customized plan and try to make sure you get theyre first, in helping them in setting the business and buying requirements, this will increase your win odds. Pre-empt the competition. That's the best strategy and best advice I can give to any firm that is solution selling in this competitive environment. 

 

 

Set Up Steps for version 12.1 Complex Purchase Orders and Retainage

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

There are two setups steps that are required if the complex purchase orders and retainage feature will be used.

 

1.       Create a document style in Oracle Purchasing.
Responsibility: Purchasing
Navigation: / Setup / Purchasing / Document Styles  à Create
Define whether the complex PO can include advances, retainage, and progress payments.

complexpo

         

Pay Items can be Milestone, Rate, or Lump Sum.  For Fixed Price Services, rate based pay items will be considered quantity based matches and milestone and lumpsum will be considered amount-based matches when evaluating billed, planned, and tolerances.

 

Milestone pay items are based on a milestone in the contract or event that needs to be fully complete before the contractor can claim the associated payment.

 

Rate pay items are based on a ‘Rate’ of work completion. Payments for these can be claimed as units of work are completed.

 

Lump Sum pay items, as the name suggests, are based on a ‘Lump Sum’ amount allocated to a portion of work. Progress payments can be released for these pay items based on the level of completion.  

 

                                

If the “Treat Progress Payments as Contract Financing” option is selected, then pay items entered follow the Financing Complex Work case.  If the option is not selected, then pay items follow the Actual Complex Work case.

 

Note: The profile option POR: Amount Based Services Line Type specifies how services are to be quantified and ordered on the transaction document. In order to use the Complex Services functionality, the value for this profile option should be set to ‘Fixed Price Services’, which means that services will be ordered as an amount.  This setup is found performed in the System Administrator responsibility under System Profiles.

 

 

 

 

2.       Create a retainage account in Financials Options setup.

Responsibility: Payables
Navigation: / Setup / Options / Financials Options
Enter the retainage account to use during accounting.

complexpo1

 

Note: Historically the prepayment account entered here would default to the supplier site and be used when creating prepayments for the supplier.  However, the new Advances and Contract Financing prepayments introduced with this solution will use the distribution account on the Purchase Order and not the supplier site.

Don't be scared of strategy, embrace it

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

The ability to forecast accurately is central to effective strategy planning. If the forecast tends to be wrong, the real costs and opportunity costs can be detrimental, on the other hand if they are correct they can provide great benefit. Success demands commitments that are hard to copy hard to reverse configurations of resources and capabilities that are aligned with the competitive conditions of the market.

Forecasting thanks to most graduate schools has become a standard. That is under utilized or mis-understood, it is not a science or an art.

Who dares wins, IMO each company should re-invent their strategy every 2 years, challenge the thinking about the future that we cannot see clearly from a hierachy perspective this area is the responsibility of senior management.

Embrace Risk dont be frightened by it. As a person you will not grow if you don't take any risks.

Enterprise Project Success = Dedication, Passion and Humor

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

When I graduated in the 90’s, I was reporting to a person that influenced and helped shape my career. He was the project lead, had an impressive track record on enterprise projects (solid resume), Harvard graduate, 20+ years of experience, overall people person and knowledgeable.

 

He always smiled, in a good mood and joked quite often with the team and the management team. This did not seem, the right behavior especially when you read his resume and most off the shelf management books this was part of his strategy of creating a high performance team. (At the end he did it)

 

We still talk quite often; he is now a C level for a large global US corporation.

 

Here were some of his ideas:

 

  • Team building is almost impossible when it comes to collective decision making. Each person will have his own agenda, and won’t say it in public. He knew how to breakdown walls between each other.

 

  • Unless you understand the agenda of all stakeholders, the power centre within the organization (he called it the structure behind the org) you will be set to fail.

 

  • Always show your passion, a job is what we do for money work is what we do for love.

 

  • A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight, it disarms and embraces teamwork.

 

  • Laughter is good for your health, use humour to overcome challenges, it promotes team bonding. He obliged us to read a study on the benefits of laughter during the project.

 

  • He had already mapped the solution, and was slowly using meetings and discussions to share his thoughts. The team felt empowered.

 

Another analogie:

 

To decide which kind of team is going to be most successful you need to know what is your challenge, or the game. At the Olympics, a gymnastic team is a team of great individual performers who create an aggregate result from their individual performances, although they provide a supportive team environment. When looking at an Olympic hockey team on the other hand, they have to deliver a result which can only be delivered as a product of their interdependent effort - the team has to be more than the sum of the parts and they have to be a great team.

 

This drives my last point the future of work will be accelerated by more change, companies will need to innovate and co-create unique value with their customers and in today’s knowledge economy creativity will be more important than ever.

 

Be patient and give yourself time before implementing MOAC in Release 12.1

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 

Multi-Org Access Control enables companies that have implemented a shared services operating model to efficiently process business transactions by allowing them to access, process, and report on data for an unlimited number of operating units within a single applications responsibility. That was a major limitation in R11.

 

MOAC will automatically increase the productivity of shared service centers, as users and processes no longer have to switch applications responsibilities when processing transactions for multiple operating units at a time. The data security and access privileges are still maintained using security profiles that now support a list of operating units.

 

The user level preferences must be well thought out and can optionally be set to access a subset of operating units.

 Profile option ‘MO: Security Profile’:Profile option ‘MO: Security Profile’ controls what security profile is active for a session 

moac

 

This is how MOAC works in Release 12 when the value of “MO: Security Profile” is set. The important point to note here is that the profile “MO: Operating Unit” is ignored when the profile “MO: Security Profile” is set. This enables us to use both R12 MOAC behavior and 11i behavior simultaneously in R 12. You can also choose to completely use one of them. Take your time and think it through when designing your solution.

 

9 Tips for Making Smart Decisions

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

 

Being smart doesn't make you all knowing. Nor does it make you better than anyone else. It just means that you should be more willing to put forth what you do know in a manner that is more compassionate and understanding to those who are not so knowledgeable. In any ERP project especially at the more senior project positions you must take decisions that are difficult.  Here are some of my tricks I have been using for the past years and work well for me:

1.       Take action to define the problem and find its root cause will usually lead to an optimal solution

2.       Examine your motives, do you have an alternative option before making a decision, always step back and make sure you are not falling into the emotions and cognitive biases that typically derail decision makers.

3.       Create your own safe space, brainstorm and review alternatives and challenge your thinking.

4.       Always set broad objectives for your solution with multiple possible solutions

5.       Study past decisions (I always study each decision after it occurs)

6.       Think about your project risks, once a week

7.       Always listen, to your teams concerns, deadlines and emotions.

8.       I like to implement mandatory feedback and alternative options (Very important reduces the concept of group think).

9.       Understanding the underground organization, trust me – I know how decisions work in this place (Only if I had a dollar for each time I heard this saying….) Organizations are complex, must make sure you don’t fall in this trap make sure your ideas are concise, factual and use a logical process modeling approach.

 

Practical approach to a contingency plan

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Contingency plans are not there to prevent crisis. Instead, they are usually reactive and triggered by events. They can lessen the negative impacts of crises and return situations back to normal quicker.

My 3 steps when needed:

1) Organize a planning team: Some teams are effective in handling complex situation, non routine situations.

2) Assess the scope of the problem: Many minds are better than one, use informal brainstorming sessions to identify key issues.

3) Develop a plan (Stick by it), test and update the plan

Be systematic and a lessons learned closedown should be part of your crisis management process.

 

Season greetings and 6 predictions for 2010

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Wish everyone a 2010 filled with prosperity, happiness and love.

To close out the year here are some of my thoughts that will shape out 2010.

1)    In the midst of 2009 recession, corporations executed harsh measures to restore profit. But today, the layoffs are behind us. Hiring will pick up. Profits are back, mostly because of cost-cutting. Now business must again start to focus on growth. How do you grow a business? With people. You need a strategic plan, of course, but what good is that without the right people to execute it? People alone drive peak performance.  

Studies like McKinsey’s much-quoted “War for Talent” show the best people are attracted to companies that fulfill the deep, personal need for meaning while making contributions to society—beyond the profit motive. I think the war for talent in 2010 will continue.

2)    Another fundamental change that began at the end of 2008 and still quite strong the return of spirituality and religion in North America. I think this will continue and will be strong for the next year.

3)    We are at the beginning of conscious capitalism, I think this trend will remain strong for many years to come. We are starting with climate change … and we will slowly change are view on corporate scandals and government cynicism.

One point I want to emphasize is that mainstream media is so full of bad news that it makes me angry how unintelligent they think we are. Enough! The world is not going to hell. We are not in the age of Armageddon like some want us to believe. We are not going to be wiped out by global warming. Capitalism is not evil. In fact, we as a society are getting better. Far from ideal, but getting better.

4)    Currency prediction other currencies will continue appreciating, the logic is that countries like Russia-China will be looking to diverse their holdings from the US to other countries like Canada, Australia, Brazil, Euro. US dollar will remain weak with their trillion dollar deficits. Another caveat governments all over the world will be increasing the amount of taxes we pay. (They will use an indirect approach on tax increases mostly on consumption)

5)     The web will begin to metamorphose to Web 3.0 will build on both and include multiple dimensions, more database mining, intelligent browsers and search tools. It will be the Web that "knows your name." This is possible because your profile will be available somewhere on the web in machine readable format. When you search, the search engine will know quite a bit about you and use that information to search various databases to find what you need and customize the results. As we know every time we log on to the web you leave an extensive footprint behind. Corporations like Google and ISP providers keep 18 months of your personal search information on their private servers.

6)    For individuals looking to start a business here are my three growth areas for 2010:

1) Privacy management consultants(people that help erase your online web information (e.g.:Facebook, other links….)

2) Senior Services (clinics, home care, wellness programs)

3) Green Practices, there is growing attention to being environmentally conscious or “green” with increased implementation of four-day work weeks and telework. Initiatives previously viewed as work-family balance are now being reframed as environmental friendly. The green trend will continue growing..

 

Focus on the Business Process

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 A business process  is a set of recurring activities that produce an output/outcome that is of value to a customer not on the functions involved

–A transformation of an input into an output
–An integrative framework
There are two main types of processes: Operating Processes and Infrastructure Processes.
Each Operating and Infrastructure Process is composed of Sub-processes, Activities and Tasks.
Decomposing Processes into their Sub-processes, Activities and Tasks provides a full picture of the actions taken to complete the Processes’ outcomes.
Processes that add value to an organization are those that are well defined and well managed.
Some characteristics of a well managed process
 
Someone is responsible and held accountable for how well the process performs (process owner)
It has:
–well-defined boundaries (process scope)
–well-defined internal interfaces and responsibilities
–documented procedures, work tasks, and training requirements
–measurement and feedback controls close to the point where the activity is performed
–customer-related measurements and targets
–formalized change procedures
–known cycle time
In these times, companies are measured on how well they manage their processes
A Process Focus…
Enables the organization to focus on customer
Keeps the focus on outcomes
Helps the organization understand inputs and how they become outputs
Provides a systematic view of organization activities
Uncovers low value added work and inefficiencies
Provides a view of why and how error occurs and a method for correcting them
Develops a complete measurement system for all business areas
Assists the organization in effectively managing its interrelationships
Provides a means to effect major changes to very complex activities in a rapid manner
Provides an understanding of how good the company can be
Allows the organization to predict and control change
Prepares the organization for meeting future challenges

Deploying Oracle Report Manager R12.1

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

Oracle Report Manager is the online report distribution system that provides a secure and centralized location to produce and manage point-in-time reports. Reports can be published and presented to certain responsibilities without additional security or a variety of security models can be applied, allowing only authorized users to view entire reports or parts of reports. In addition, we can use specific templates to integrate reports displayed by Report Manager using the organization's individual style. The key benefit of Report Manager in R 12.1 is that the report can be directly viewed and opened in Excel (as against earlier releases wherein it can be viewed only in PDF or html).  

The approach to deploy should begin by looking at the Menu Functions that are available. Oracle does not seed specific responsibility for being used to run Report Manager, as the reports could be called and published from any of the base application’s responsibility. Hence, the suggested approach of Oracle is to add these functions to the appropriate responsibility. 

 1. Financial Report Template Editor

2. Financial Report Submission

3. Report Set Publish

4. Report Set Publishing Options

5. Ad Hoc FSG Submission

6. Security Workbench

7. Repository Management

8. Upload File

9. Standard Report Submission

10. Request Set Publishing Options

11. Variable Report Submission

 The following table lists, one of the suggested approach to associate the above Functions to specific responsibility: 

Responsibility Menu Function to be added to it from above
General Ledger Financial Report Template Editor
  Financial Report Submission
  Report Set Publish
 

Report Set Publishing Options

 

Ad Hoc FSG Submission

  FSG Drilldown: Launch Page *
  FSG Drilldown: Select Content Set Rows *
  FSG Drilldown: Effective Range Selection Page *
  FSG Drilldown: Balance Inquiry Page *
  Account Analysis and Drilldown *
   

Report Manager Administration

Repository Management

 

Upload File

 

Financial Report Template Editor

   

General Operations

Standard Report Submission

 

Request Set Publishing Options

   
Financial Assets Standard Report Submission
 

Variable Report Submission

Bank Account Security Model

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle and Security, Blog

 

In Release 12, banks and bank branches are created as Trading Community Architecture parties. The bank accounts are associated with Bank Branches but reside within the Cash Management application. During the bank account creation, you will be able to define in which applications this bank account can be used.The new model reduces the number of access points to manage bank accounts by providing a centralized user interface where all internal bank accounts can be set up. Bank account access in the new model can be granted to multiple operating units, thus eliminating the redundant duplicate bank account setup under different operating units in case these operating units share the same bank account. This simplifies the reconciliation process since now one bank account is the system corresponds to one bank account at the bank.

Designing your enterprise reporting strategy

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Business Intelligence

 

One key mistake, that often surfaces with the design of your report strategy is the mis-understanding of the classification of reports

Classification of Reports

Reports can broadly be classified as Operational reports, Tactical reports and Strategic reports. The category of reporting requirement drives the format in which the data needs to be stored to ensure adequate performance. Operational reports are typically run off relational databases while tactical (analysis/planning) and strategic reports are run off multi-dimensional databases.

 

1)      Operational Reports

Operational reports are essential for day-to-day operations of a business. These are typically either static or parameterized in terms data selection. This class of reports has minimal analytical requirements and typically excludes complex analytical calculations or planning processes. Relational (OLTP) databases are sufficient to meet these requirements.

 

2)      Tactical Reports

Tactical reports include planning and budgeting reports. Planning and budgeting report are more analytic in nature and may often require complex data analysis including past trends. Depending on the complexity of the reporting requirement, a combination of Relational (OLTP) and Multi-dimensional (OLAP) databases are required to support these needs.

 

3)      Strategic reports

Senior Management and executives have a business need to obtain the reporting figures at an overview level as opposed to an analyst in a department who needs reporting data at a finer level of detail. Reports of this type may also require operability with charts, tabular metrics and graphs. Strategic reports may involve complex analysis. Multidimensional (OLAP) databases need to be used to avoid performance degradation.

The above mentioned reports may further be classified as follows:

 

 ·       Standard Vs Ad-hoc reports

·         Summary Vs Detail reports

·         Key Figures Vs Master Data reports

·         Internal Vs External Reports 

Standard Vs Ad-hoc Reports

Standard reports are executed not once, but many times. Therefore, they should not have to be recreated each time. Instead, it should be possible to re-access templates and fill them automatically with the new data. However, if users would like a general view of certain facts for which there no pre-defined report, they need a tool that enables them to quickly compile this information themselves. It is important that they can quickly find the data they need. They need a tool that provides a business-operations view of the relevant data fields - characteristics, indicators and other attributes. This tool must be clear, and must help to find the fields needed by filtering and sorting.

Note: Standard report is a classification based on the reusability of the template or a report definition including layout and data fields. Standard report does not refer to the Oracle standard report.

 

Summary Vs Detail ReportsSummary reports have condensed data and the main focus is on data that can be aggregated. Usually the top-down method is used, that is, users start at a relatively high level of condensing and then display successively more details for important data (zoom in or drilldown). Experts also change (navigate) between different views (slice and dice).The other approach is the bottom-up approach. This is used mostly for reports that either contains hardly any data fields that can be aggregated, or for those in which the main focus from the start is on a detailed and complete overview of all selected data.

 

Key Figures Vs Master Data ReportsKey figures are numerical and can usually be condensed with simple formulas (but sometimes only with very complex formula). For example DSO (Day sales Outstanding) is a key figure and indicates the number of days past due and can be at product or a line of business level. A master data report is an all-inclusive report that has all the data pertaining to a range selection. 

Internal Vs External Reports

Based on the report destination, reports can be broadly classified as being internal or external. An internal report is circulated within an organization where as an external report is sent to an outside agency or a govt. body.

Much too heavy of an emphasis is based on Technology which can be complex, Technology in most cases is not the issue, it can be complex but always manageable.

To successfully deploy your Enterprise reporting strategy, it is important that you understand your organization plan to reach success, I recommend you use drivers (ex: automating processes - cost savings, educating users and managers - utilise the full potential of ERP, CRM). In general people drive enterprise reporting system to success not technology.

In spite of this advice, each time an organization starts an ERP (or CRM or SFA or BPM or whatever) selection and implementation project, the going-in assumption for reports  is that the software must handle the unique aspects of the business.

After having personally managed several large-scale system implementations (and consulted others on numerous projects), I developed a model to simplify business/IT reporting initiatives. The goal of this model is to improve the likelihood that we will make more rational decisions about where to accept "vanilla," or standard reports and where it makes sense which report you customize. For an ERP implementation, I have found that using this approach reduces reporting project timelines by as much as 50% and budgets by as much as 40%. Statistics show that only 30-40% of reports you design are ever used after go-live -develop wisely.

 

 

 

 

Oracle Project integration with MS-Projects

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle Project Suite, Blog

 

Oracle Projects uses MS Projects to create and maintain WBS. You may send and receive a project, send an update, view real-time project information and receive real-time values for task attributes. Oracle Projects OOTB(Out-of-the-box) integration is as follows: 

Information From MSP To MSP
Schedule Yes
Budget Yes
Project Template Yes
Existing Projects Yes
Resources & Rates Yes
Progress & Actual effort Yes
Cost Progress Yes
 

Overview of R12.1 Manufacturing Scheduling

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Consider the problem of scheduling two jobs A1,A2 with one operation each to be loaded in a same  resource R1

If there are 3 jobs?

How many schedules are possible?

Answer :  3! – 3 x 2 x 1= 6schedules.

For 10 jobs – 10 ! = 36,28,800 schedules.

Oracle Manufacturing Scheduling consists of two major components:

 

  •  
    • Constraint-based scheduling engine
    • Scheduler Workbench 
    •  The constraint-based scheduling engine schedules jobs and operations based on user-predefined objectives, priorities, resources, and material constraints. It can be possible to reschedule single jobs and operations or the entire shop floor.
  •  The Scheduler Workbench lets user to graphically view and reschedule single jobs and operations based on constraints, such as resource or material shortages. It provides you with a visual display (Gantt chart) of jobs on the shop floor. User can interactively reschedule jobs, operations, and resources. Can manually control the rescheduling or let the system automatically optimize the schedule based on resource and material constraints. The Scheduler Workbench interfaces directly with Oracle Work in Process.         

P.S : The updated Oracle R12 documentation user guide has some good examples to familiarize yourself with scheduling.

 

Oracle Ace Presentations and Twitter tips for OOW10

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

If you still have not completed your schedule builder, I would recommend the presentations given by Oracle Aces. Oracle ACEs are recognized by Oracle for their strong credentials as Oracle community enthusiasts and advocates that share experiences. The link is a list to all the oracle ace presentations.

http://wiki.oracle.com/page/Oracle+ACE+presentations

People attending for the first time I strongly recommend that you do a schedule builder now, it can become overwhelming the Moscone madness.

Sunday kicks off with the usergroups @ 12:30pm PDT For more details, go to: http://bit.ly/9tDf4B

Follow and use the official Oracle openworld 2010 hastag #OOW10. Hashtags are a convenient way to mark that a tweet is relevant to a specific topic. Oracle has suggested that if you're tweeting about Oracle OpenWorld 2010, use the hashtag #oow10. 


So if you tweet about Oracle OpenWorld 2010, use #OOW10. And if you want to find tweets about Oracle OpenWorld 2010, go to http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23OOW10

 

 

Sunday's OOW10 quick highlights on EBS

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

After OOW2010 will gladly blog in detail about the directions and roadmap of Oracle, including new functionality.

OAUG EBS SIG session Steven Chan was theyre to answer questions, Roadmap to Fusion will start with 12.1. Oracle projects will integrate to payroll, contractors will be able to be paid directly using OTL or 3rd party timesheet programs.

 OBIEE will be offered into the cloud.... pay as you go model, they mentioned how the new version will be quite open can integrate to anything... this probably means lots of code to write , let's see and wait for this good news.

 The Hyperion Profitability & Cost Management is the roadmap/go-to-market product in place of similar modules in PeopleSoft suite.

To follow the latest news follow Oracle on Twitter. Link is Below 

http://twitter.com/search?q=%23oow10

Going to Fusion apps roadmap session and then heading to PIER 40 for a boat cruise with the Oracle Aces.

 

Oracle ACE's - Dinner-Bay cruise

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Over 100 Oracle Aces, attended this year dinner bay cruise, the food was excellent.

Thank you Lillian for organizing the event.

oow2010026

 

oow2010029

 

oow2010025

 

 

America's Cup Trophy and Oracle-BMW Racing boat

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

well guarded America's cup trophy

oow2010018

 

oow2010017

Fusion application screenshots and Exalogic announcement

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in fusion, Blog

Sneak peek at Oracle fusion applications screenshots

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oracle_images/sets/72157624867161443/ 

Larry Ellison quote at the keynote: Fusion Applications "runs on 100% vanilla FMW. Interesting …Oracle announces Exalogic Elastic Cloud

http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/173459

Last year 25000 attendees this year a whopping 41000 attendees(new record)

 

Test drove Hyperion Planning 11.1.2 Talleyrand release

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Today spent an hour in the demogrounds testing and better understanding the new Hyperion Planning release.

Initial thoughts, the  presentation layer has improved considerably(screenshots below) the microsoft integration is fantastic and works well (click on more for a preview of the microsoft integration screenshot)

To better support the Hyperion Planning customizations. Planning now includes templates that control the layout and content of PDF reports of data forms, data form definitions, task lists, and planning units. The Hyperlinks can now be added to the Planning Tools page to support quick access to specific pages (great functionality) you can do a specific search on a functionality and it will provide you a link to the form, no more memorizing the path to access the functionality.

OOW2010032

 

OOW2010033

 OOW2010034

 

Click on More For Microsoft integration

Microsoft integration with Hyperion Planning Talleyrand release was solid ran three scenarios with no integration errors.

OOW2010035

 

Practical Hyperion Financial Management Architecture Tips

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

One of the most popular products from the Hyperion suite is Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) used for financial consolidation, to implement Hyperion Financial Management this requires a Tier Configuration. This article shares experiences and architecture tips and tricks, to implement HFM.

HFM requires a tier configuration. The primary goal of N-Tier architectures is to stage the processing by the type of processing for the purposes of scaling the end-to-end solution by the type of processing and protecting corporate resources by the level of risk.  While protection of corporate resources is less critical for intranet applications, it still remains a driving factor in defining an N-Tier application environment.The Hyperion products follows two basic N-Tier architectures patterns.  One is centered on client delivery architecture and the other is a web-based architecture.  

The tiers for the client-based architectures are as follows:

1.             Application Client 2.             Web Server 3.             Application Server4.             Database Management Server staging_architecture

Figure 1:  Client Staging Pattern 

The web-based architecture, which is used for the majority of the Hyperion business functionality, has the following tiers

1.             Web Browser 2.             Web Server 3.             Application Server(s) 4.             Database Management Server

 web_staging_architecture

Figure 2:  Web Staging Pattern 

If one evaluates the risk of compromising any one of the tiers of the architecture, one will reach the conclusion that the most valuable attribute of the application is the data.  Confidently, N-Tier architectures strive to insulate the data repository from the user and hacker communities by strategically positioning the database as the last tier of the architecture.  If one works from the back of the architecture to the front, one will notice that the components of the architecture begin to be less important to the overall integrity of the system and more vulnerable (from a systems perspective) to the mistakes of users.   Fortunately, In most clients implementation it will be retained within the corporate intranet so the exposure to hackers is dramatically less but this will be increasing in the future with the announcement at Openworld 2010 of the “cloud” push.   There is one minor deviation to these design patterns.  The Hyperion Analyzer and Hyperion Reports require a second level of Application Servers.  In the case of Analyzer, most of the logic for building results sets resides in the HFM application tier.  Therefore Analyzer leverages this business logic, by connecting to the HFM application server to build custom views of the HFM data.  In addition, the Hyperion Reports application utilizes a print server to build defined reports in PDF format. 

All locations that use Hyperion Financial Management Retrieve where performance is an issue should have the ability to use Hyperion Analyzer for ad-hoc reporting, to minimize performance load.

Scaling Strategy

The advantage of N-Tier architectures is that the architect may add resources at each tier to relieve bottlenecks in system performance.  Because there are numerous tiers, there are numerous scaling strategies that target each tier.  In general, there are three basic scaling strategies:

 1.             Horizontal Scaling – add or remove computers at the tier under analysis in order to size the tier according to the expected or measured workload.

2.             Vertical Scaling – add or remove computer power at the tier under analysis in order to size the tier according to the expected or measured workload.  Some of the items that are sized according to vertical scaling strategies include:

a.     Disk Storage

b.    CPU power

c.     Memory Capacity

d.    Network Capacity

3.             Workload Distribution Scaling Strategy – The allocation of system resources to handle different workloads on separate resources.  In this strategy, more system resources are allocated to higher priority tasks in order to enforce a priority for processing system requests.a.     Horizontal Scaling Strategyb.    Vertical Scaling Strategyc.     Load Distribution Scaling Strategy While the process of evaluating the scaling requirements is usually covered in your performance documentation, the ability to scale at each tier is an architectural capability.  In addition, the scaling capabilities are dictated by the applications with some level of discretion given to the deployment architect.  The scaling strategy for most Hyperion clients, web, application, database, and database storage tiers are as follows.

Client Tier Scaling Strategy

The client tier is unique in respect to scaling because it is not a shared resource, but there are many of them.  The uniqueness is centered on the fact that the client application resources are not coordinated among other clients that may be running.  A client system must be singly capable of performing to the expectations of the user that it serves.  As a result, the strategy for scaling at the client tier is considered vertical.  The computing power of the client desktop must be sufficient to run the client applications whether they are Hyperion, EBS, or Citrix clients. It is recommended to create a Desktop Configuration document covering the minimum requirements for the desktop.

Web Tier Scaling Strategy

The responsibility of the web tier is to respond to web based requests.  There are two general types of requests that may be requested of a web server and that is a request for a static web page or a request for a dynamic web page.  Static web pages are documents and require no computational resources to build the document at the time of the request.  A dynamic web page requires some type of computation such as formula calculations or database queries in order to build the response for the server request. Requests for static web pages are served from the web cache or from the disk while requests for dynamic web pages are passed back to the application tier.   The workload characteristics of this tier are memory and network intensive.  In the cases when encryption is used, the workload becomes more CPU intensive.  This type of workload works well with single CPU servers with a large amount of RAM.  In the cases where encryption is used, it is useful to add another CPU to the server.  When the server is scaled up or down, the preferred scaling strategy is horizontal.  Therefore, in HFM’s case consolidation systems will make use of horizontal scaling at the web tier.   Another tip with Hyperion products you should leverage load distribution scaling at the web tier by using two web tier strategies.  Would recommend HFM application workloads at the web tier to be handled by two load balanced IIS Web Servers running on two separate servers.  Web requests for Hyperion Analyzer or Hyperion Reports recommend be handled by two load balanced, HTTP Web Servers that are running on the application servers in my experiences allocated from Oracle Weblogic. Horizontal scaling in both cases are enabled through the user of a set of hardware load balancers.    There are two primary reasons for using workload distribution scaling at the web tier;

  1. The Analyzer and Reports processing is considered to be secondary to the core HFM processing. Therefore, the traffic generated by Analyzer and Reports should have a minimal impact on resources reserved for consolidation applications
  2. In most cases clients, usually prefer the choice of hardware load balancing to software load balancing for the Weblogic Application Server.  As a result of this business decision, a matter of architectural simplification dictates that the web and application tiers are collapsed onto the same servers.  Therefore, web traffic destined for Reports or Analyzer applications are balanced over two application servers that are also running the  HTTP server to service web traffic.  In my last implementation we used hardware load balancers to distribute web-based requests over the WebLogic servers. 

 In most clients web configuration, the workload characteristics of the HFM traffic is expected to be light and the Reports and Analyzer traffic is expected to be even less.  If HFM traffic increases to a point to require scaling the web tier up then adding more web servers is possible.  Scaling the web tier down (below two HFM web servers) is not recommended due to failover requirements.   The web traffic associated with the Reports and Analyzer applications is expected to be low in comparison to the workload associated with the application server that is running on the same server.  It is expected that scaling the Reports and Analyzer application servers (WebLogic) up will be due to the application server requirements, but the web server tier will benefit from any scaling requirements for the WebSphere application server.  It is not recommended to scale HTTP Web servers down below two servers due to the failover requirements. 

Last point, HFM provides mission critical data that should be available to users 24x7x365.  Since this system generates reports for both internal management and external legal and regulatory bodies. Add a buffer because it is a a web based application. (Add 15-25%)company due to the global nature of your architecture and apply a factor to take into effect different global internet connection speeds.

 

 

The difference between Standard and Average Costing

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

The following table outlines the functional differences between standard and average costing:

 

 

Standard Costing

 

Average Costing

 

Material and material overhead with Inventory; all cost elements with Bills of Material

Material with Inventory; all cost elements with Bills of Material

Item costs held by cost sub-element

Item costs held by cost element

Unlimited sub-elements

Unlimited sub-elements

Can share costs across organizations.  The master cost organization can be the only organization using WIP.

No shared costs; average cost is maintained separately in each organization

Moving average cost is not maintained

Maintains the average unit cost with each transaction

Separate valuation accounts for each subinventory and cost element

Separate valuation accounts for each cost element (see note below)

Variances for WIP transactions

No variances for WIP transactions

 

*The average unit cost is maintained at the organization level.  If you had separate valuation accounts by subinventory, total inventories would balance, but account balances by subinventory would not match the inventory valuation reports.

 

 

Tips for Enterprise Production Cutover Projects

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

 

What is production cutover?

Production cutover is the transfer of the Enterprise Project solution from the project team to the business.  It starts with the creation of the production instance the phase will close following the first month end transacted on your erp/crm (EBS, , Siebel,PSFT, JDE,...) 

This is where you initiate your planned recipe for cutover week:

Example of statements that should be included: No Legacy systems will be available during cutover week except for the Payroll process.  

You should also outline the manual transaction mechanisms that will be used to capture and maintain business operations if any systems remain operational.

The production cutover plan, outlines all the process steps and manual procedures/activities to be executed in the migration of Legacy systems to Oracle, also identifies and assigns resources and management to each control process , including sequences of all tasks using linked dependencies to set dates for deliverables, and identifies and integrates all other points of coordination.

Tips: One item that is usually overseen is task duration, we all tend to be optimistic add some slack, the point the longer you take to perform your task the more pressure is added to your colleague, and make sure you check all dates on your plan, in most cases an enterprise wide implementation takes longer than a day.

Here is a high level flow of production cutover team diagram:

production_cutover

Be very careful that all transactions are accounted, workflows complete (as much as possible), payments complete. Review cutover best practices for more detailed advice (ping your consultants, they’ve done this before). If you don’t do this you will hit serious problems.

Cutover is a stressful time no matter how well planned. The Project Manager should ensure everyone stays calm, ensure work is balanced and avoid burn-out for those working shifts. Organize some food during the cutover, step in to calm any friction quickly and monitor every last aspect of progress.

 

Sizing your ERP Production Environment

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Security and Administration

One question that comes often, how  to size your production, this is not science it is an art, yes guidelines exists but no two client environments are the same.

 

I like to begin by using the following table to define the online user workload by EBS application family.  This will provide a high level sizing based on blended metrics for multiple application modules within the application family.  Also most vendors have detailed questionaires to help with the sizing exercise. 

Oracle EBS
Application Families
Numbers of Users by EBS Application Family # Sessions per User(default = 1)
* # Named
Users
# Concurrently Active Users
* Total * Light * Std. * Heavy
 Financials            
 Supply Chain Planning 6 6      5  
 Logistics & Transportation    Management            
 Order Management 12 12   6 6  
 Manufacturing 40 40   10 30  
 Sales and Marketing            
 Service 340 340 37 60    
 Human Resources            
 Projects 275 200   100 100  
 Procurement 25       25  
 Maintenance Mgmt            
 Others            
 Totals 1700          
Under-sizing has a significant increase in TCO, Oversizing in the other hand allocates costs earlier. The company always saves money by right sizing, easier said than done. Metalink has some interesting whitepapers on ERP sizing. Oracle's strategy of launching exadata at OOW10 will help resolve this issue.
 
Exadata Database Machine relieves the use of responsibility for physical configuration and deployment of database servers and associated storage, offering pretty impressive performance and scalability benefits. It merits careful consideration as your main system or data warehouse or an OLTP database consolidation platform.

 

Interesting articles from Oracle ACE's and upcoming events

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

New Article: 4 Pillars for Web Content Management Site and Content Optimization

This article written by Oracle ACE Billy Cripe provides some key strategies for optimizing your site and content that can spell the difference between a site that successfully drives desired behavior and one that simply exists on the web.

New Article: MySQL Performance Diagnostics & Tuning - Part I

Oracle ACE Ricardo Portilho Proni demonstrates on the first part of this step-by-step guide how to improve the performance of MySQL Databases.

New Article: Interoperability Between Oracle WebLogic Server 11g and Microsoft.NET WCF 4.0 Using Secure Web Services

This article written by Oracle ACE Juan Carlos (John Charles) Olamendy Turruellas teaches you how to create secure Web services that support interoperability across Oracle and Microsoft technologies.

New Article: Introducing an Event Server Platform

Oracle ACE and book author Debu Panda wrote a new article that describes event servers, development tools, Event Processing Language and management infrastructure required for an Event Server Platform.


New Blog : Free Tools Available to All Oracle Users

ACE Director Arup Nanda has built freely three tools that you can use to add range partitions automatically to tables , drop partitions automatically based on retention, and present a consolidated view of all RMAN backups.


Blog Entry: An Investigation into Exadata, Part 2

Discover what ACE Director Frits Hoogland found in part 2 when digging into Oracle’s Parallel Query feature. Did you miss part 1?


Free Tutorial: Oracle UCM: How to tap the wealth of killer queries, reports and custom pages

If your business users might benefit from some killer reports, custom pages and queries - this exclusive guide written by Oracle ACE Dmitri Khanine might save you days of trial and error.


Blog Entry: Commit time vs log file sync time

Exploring the relationship between commit time and log file sync wait time is what this post is about written by ACE Director Craig Shallahamer.

Blog Entry: Practical Hyperion Financial Management Architecture Tips
In this post, Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos shares his experiences and architecture tips and tricks on implementing HFM.


Blog Entry: Upgrading by Command Line
Oracle ACE Surachart Opun posts examples for upgrading Oracle Database 10gR2 to 11gR2 by command-line.

New Book: Oracle Application Express 4.0 with Ext JS: RAW, written by Oracle ACE Mark Lancaster (coming soon, pre-order now)

New Book: Oracle SQL Tuning: A Close Look at Explain Plans, written by ACE Director, Dan Hotka (available now)

Upcoming Oracle Events

Happy Holidays and My 2011 predictions

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Wishing all the happiest of holidays and an amazing 2011. It is time that i make my 2011 year predictions.

In the technology space, this last recession has been transformational; virtualization will remain strong as cost savings (money saver).

Cloud computing - Corporate America confusion will still spread, most companies will still not find the value (ROI).I would remain on the side, this area is overhyped. I think 2012 will be a good year for the cloud.

Business Analytics Reporting will taper off, companies are realizing the complexities and costs of producing analytics for the real time organization. Corporations will go back to the basics, the capabilities of real time analytics will be readily available, the question at what price, I think CIO's will be thrifty in this overhyped area, they will push suppliers to provide proof of concepts before opening their wallets.

Low interest rates and lots of cash on the corporate balance sheet will continue the merger and acquisition drive into 2011.

ERP/CRM space will remain strong, the trends will be cost savings and standardization, will be a good year for upgrades, instance consolidations and adding new purchased companies into your enterprise footprint. CIO's will remain careful and internal hiring to add more internal competency will continue.

In the stock markets, 2010 was a great year, I will be a bit more conservative for 2011, it will be a range bound year with some rocky swings. My current investment portfolio is 90% stocks - 10% Corporate Bonds, I will be changing in January my profile to 60% stock - 40 % Corporate bonds. Main concern many areas are overhyped and the European debacle will spread. Also I feel the hype around some stocks like Apple remind me of the Internet bubble of 2000.

Corporate America will be increasing their dividend payouts, Trillions of dollars on their balance sheet, they will continue the hiring spree that has begun in November.

China will start feeling more pressure to revalue there currency interest rates, or tariffs and protectionism will begin emerging from other countries, this may even cause war.

2011 will be a good year to start your own business. One area that is underserved is the boomers (80 million in North America),  supermarket with lower shelves, online healthcare (vital signs,, home services), Technical support should be good businesses to start in 2011.

For any type of business make sure that you know your target market. If you don’t know who you are trying to attract to your business/website, it is difficult to cater the content accordingly.

Consider how your audience are going to be able to find your business. Niche businesses will always find it easiest to find their audience online.

As I said throughout the years, "Passion" is very important in starting a business. Start with a business that you are very interested in.

I am positive andoptimistic also motivated about 2011, I think great opportunities will arise. This leads me to believe that we are slowly rebooting the economy.

 

Starting an OBI project

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Featured, Blog, Business Intelligence

Starting an OBI project

The nuts and bolts of putting together a decent data warehouse are not that hard.

But in the corporation the reality is: you need to make sure you store the correct granularity of data, you have all of the right constraints in place (plus all those other helpful bits of metadata that the query optimizer uses), the right backup and recovery regime, some useful pre-built summaries, a fast ETL (preferably set-based) load process and enough grunt to deliver the data to the users. Not rocket science (but perhaps hard enough for people to want to use a consultant)

But the hard thing is to plan for those ad-hoc user queries created in a drag and drop query tool. Typically, the user picks columns from a palette of available data objects and drops them on to a canvas representing a report, graph, cross-tab or whatever.  One experience that you will probably encounter is when the user tell s you it is easy to create a report on the screen; it usually does not mean it is simple to get the information back from the data warehouse.

To get you started, I created a logical flow of deliverables that I think you should maintain during your data warehouse project.

p.s: right click on image and save as on your desktop, format 11X17.

 

 

DeliverablemapforOBIEE

The Difference Between Uncertainty and Risk - Practical Project tips

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

A common mistake made by decision makers and practitioners alike is confusing the notions of uncertainty and risk, especially as they apply to enterprise projects. Uncertainty is a property of nature that resists quantification, and therefore cannot be effectively reduced to probabilities and scenarios. Risk is by definition quantifiable and manageable.

A project risk is an uncertain factor, managing an ERP or enterprise project is unlike any other effort because of the huge number of variables, people and risks involved. The complete replacement of an organization's information systems has a tremendous impact on the people in the organization, the company, its suppliers and even its customers. An ERP project manager must possess an intimate understanding of the business and how it will change when the ERP system is rolled out, and must also have a solid technical foundation. One common mistake, I usually see in enterprise projects is groupthink I call it the danger of compromise.

Enterprise projects is about making hard choices, not ducking the issues. Groupthink makes it harder for us to choose properly; it is a delusional process that exploits the members of a group and costs organizations dearly.You have probably experienced groupthink during meetings and may have fallen into its clutches occasionally; perhaps despite fairly strong feelings or personal reservations about the fairness and sensibility of some of the decisions you have supported while groupthinking.The valid opinions and due concerns of members are always at risk of being steam-rolled by groupthinking groups.

Once groupthink takes a grip, the affected group members are at risk of being gulled into unthinking acquiescence and a consequent, downward spiral of individual and collective weakness. For sure, groupthink is a powerful force and it can be hard to resist.But it’s all about compromising principles and individual responsibility, in the mistaken belief that the short-term advantage of group harmony will provide long-term satisfaction through the avoidance of proper consideration.

The consequences of groupthinking are invariably poor decision-making and damaged integrity. (In my years of experience, I think this is the number 1 reason why projects are delayed)

On a side note when a project plan is slipping before you announce that the go-live date is in jeopardy make sure you look at these points below:

Work overtime

Everyone hates it, but one logical place to start is with overtime. If people work more hours, they can get more work done in the same amount of calendar time. Overtime may be the best option if you’re close to the end of the project and just need a final push to get everything done on schedule.

Crash the schedule

Crashing the schedule means applying additional resources to the critical path, the sequence of activities that must be completed on schedule for the entire project to be completed on schedule. It’s always possible to just throw more resources on the critical path, but crashing also means you try to get the biggest schedule gain for the least amount of incremental costs.

Scale back the scope of workOne option that is usually available is to look at the work remaining and negotiate with the client to remove some of these deliverables from the project. Example: non-core reports, some interfaces or extensions that can be pushed after go-live, manual conversion instead of automated, training material, etc. If you think some of the remaining work is not core to the project, you should discuss eliminating it quickly, to re-focus on the core areas.

Last tip, this has worked for me on all my enterprise project, do consider internal employees in addition to consulting help. Projects are more successful when the internal staff owns the project and the consultants are there to support, advise and teach.

 

Articles/blogs from other Oracle ACE's

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 Latest February articles from other Oracle Ace's: Enjoy....

Oracle Diagnostics Presentations

Oracle ACE Hemant K Chitale has put together short presentations on Oracle Diagnostics. Check them out.

Video Tutorial: Linux and Windows Get great support and tips through two Linux and Windows video tutorials created by Oracle ACE Kamran Agayev.
- Installing Oracle 10gR2 Grid Control and deploying agent on Linux and Windows OS
- Installing ASM on Linux and Windows


Podcast: OurSQL: The MySQL Database Community Podcast
Since the end of December, Oracle ACE Director Sheeri along with Sarah
Novotny have co-hosted OurSQL: The MySQL Database Community Podcast. It is published weekly; show notes and past episodes can be found here or get more information on how to subscribe on
iTunes and give feedback.

Blog Post : Oracle WebCenter Interaction: Developing a Custom Login PageOracle ACE Geoff Garcia provides in his blog the necessary steps to create a new login page for users.

Blog Post : Library Cache Visualization Tool Explore your library cache in 2D or 3D using presets, your production data, or your own custom settings. To learn how, read ACE Director Craig Shallahamer's blog to get step-by-step instructions on how to use the tool and try for yourself.

New Article : Oracle Databasess on VMware Check out two new articles written by Oracle ACE Kannan Mani about Oracle Databases on VMware. Workload Characterization Study describes a workload characterization study of virtualized Oracle databases (version 11g Release 2) on VMware ESXi 4.1. Results show that virtualized Oracle databases on vSphere can handle intensive OLTP loads in single and multi-virtual machine scenarios. Best Practices Guide provides best practice guidelines for deploying Oracle databases on VMware vSphere.

New Article: Enterprise Mobility Requires a Mobile-Ready Information Infrastructure
Read this article written by Oracle ACE Billy Cripe to understand why organizations need to evaluate their Portal and ECM infrastructure to chart the best enterprise mobility strategy. Also, get a free copy of the 2011 E2.0 & Information Management Trends report which provides a synthesis of a broad swath of industry predictions including a huge role for mobility.

 New Article: 360 Degrees: Migrate your "Online" Single-Instance Database to Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) using Streams & Data Pump In this article written by Oracle ACE Tariq Farooq, you will learn how to migrate your "online" single-instance database to Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) using streams & data pump.

New Book: EBS Install Guide - The eBook written by Oracle ACE Chet Justice and John Piwowar. All proceeds will help support Chet's daughter Kate (zilla) who was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Autism). 

Oracle R12 Time import into projects

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle Project Suite, Blog

One common misunderstanding of OTL (Oracle Time and Labor Module) is the time import.

If you are using the standard OTL self service timecard - deposit to timestore - approve - retrieve data into application, then you don't need to run the Transfer to project Accounting job. You only use that job for timecards generated by the Automatic Timecard Generation process or for timecards transferred to the professional forms Timecard window for OTLR.

All you need to do is make sure the PRC: Transaction Import job from the Projects Superuser. Use the parameter 'Oracle Time and Labor' as the source, and don't put anything in the batch parameter. As below:

importtimeintoprojects

 

EBS Patching Tips

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Oracle and Security, Blog

As of 2011 to be eligible for Extended Support on Release 11.5.10 system you must meet defined minimum baseline patch requirements both for its core components such as the database and for the applications products in use.

All EBS Customers managing an 11i production instance should be familiar with the following support note. Patch Requirements for Extended Support of Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10 [ID 883202.1]

Oracle has made it mandatory to follow the guidelines in the above mentioned support document.

Most of us wait for something to break before patching any environments; in some case it makes sense since internal resources work on higher priorities, the patch installation process requires changes and that always implies Technical and Functional analysis and risk.

We are all facing the ongoing challenge of keeping up with the pace of required business changes. To make things even worse, the underlying IT infrastructure, which supports vital business functions within the company, is most often composed of heterogeneous components; a rule of thumb companies need to establish the reflex of having a patch strategy at all the layers below and to be pro-active. layers 

As part of your process, make sure you look at the below tools that can improve your current patching process.

One way to keep track of the Family Packs and Mini packs that Oracle releases is with the free utility patchset.sh (I think it should be run quarterly to pro-actively manage your environment)

I think the most mis-understood part of the patching process is the use of the free Oracle Wizard Patch Tool. Oracle updates the PIB (Patch Information Bundle) file on a nightly basis with all high- priority and critical patch fixes required for your environment. I don’t think people are aware of the PIB file that gets updated by Oracle on a nightly basis.

Two other ways to further mitigate risk.   

Analyze the possibility of using Oracle Integrated Stack Testing (OIST) product.  www.oracle.com/us/corporate/features/oracle-integrated-stack-173395.pdf and always make sure you’re testing environment, mimics the production environment as closely as possible, with functional, peak load, and stress testing, to verify specific configurations with 3rd party products and company home grown applications.  

 

Why ERP information is important for executive decision making

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

 

Depending on the economy conditions, executives want information fast, especially when competition is tough.

When the economy is growing they look at employee satisfaction, market share, inventory levels, supplier data and simulations of company plans. When the economy is down they look at receivables/payables, budget/spending/costs, cash flow, operational risk, employee performance including productivity.

ERP data must balance broad, long- term project vision offering concrete, near term wins.I think companies thought 10 years ago the systems put in place would provide uniform and trustworthy data and yes ERP was able to provide that visibility, but I think we can’t ignore the human nature in corporations, I still see it today, If we get data that says you did a really good job this month then we trust the data, but if the data says we did a bad job this month we tend not to trust it, or question it.

The aim of enterprise data should be to enable faster decision making.

Once you've made your decision you need to put it into action. Don't worry about your decision being 100% full proof. Until you put your decision into motion you will not know the results of your action. Monitor your decision and make the necessary adjustments as you go along if you need to.

Here is a simple guideline you can use to help you when making decisions, it's called OAR.

O= Objectives that you are seeking.

A= Alternative choices that are available to you.

R= Risk that go along with the alternative choices.

Using these decision making tips can help you avoid worry and redirect your energy to the areas you need in order to make the best decisions possible.

The time to speed up important information is before it’s needed, not after. When crisis arrive it’s too late and slow data would have contributed to the problem.

 

 

The future is knowledge creating companies

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

In a global economy, where the only certainty is uncertainty, the one sure source of competitive advantage is knowledge. When market shifts, technologies proliferates, competitors multiply and products become obsolete overnight. Companies that will survive the next 10 years need to consistently create new knowledge and spread it across the organization.  

Despite the talk of the current opportunities in many fields like math,  technology, healthcare and sciences. In my experiences few managers grasp the understanding of the creation of a knowledge company, let alone how to manage it.

The reason: they misunderstand what knowledge is and what a company must do to exploit it.

This dialogue must start know and companies should have an clear established strategy.

No one is mistaking the current job market for the above mentioned fields is great.Even as the U.S. economy wrestles with a weak housing market and high oil prices, demand for IT, Math, Science, workers is on the rise.

"There is a distinct shortage of certain IT [skills], and that shortage seems to be growing," says Neill Hopkins, vice president of skills development at (CompTIA) in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.  

Although the talent shortage is being exacerbated by dramatic declines in enrollments in university computer science, Health, etc, along with the first trickle of baby boomers starting to head for the exits, specific skills shortages are weighing heavily on CIOs' minds especially  the ones below:

Here are the top four skills in demand for the next 4 years:

Project management. CIOs are hungry for project managers who have extensive experience overseeing complex efforts that have delivered clear business benefits – and have actually delivered and implemented these systems not just someone that talks a good show.

Business knowledge. As IT organizations strive to align more closely with the businesses they support, demand remains strong for people with business acumen, whether they're specialized business analysts, business liaisons or application developers and other technicians with business-specific knowledge, ERP, CRM will remain strong for many years.

Data centers. There has been a flurry of activity among companies and government agencies to upgrade or relocate their data centers to take advantage of virtualization and other recent data automation and efficiency gains.

The data center gold rush is also being fueled by expanding data management and storage requirements being imposed by regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley act, IFRS and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). And as organizations place greater reliance on open systems to run mission-critical applications, many companies are recruiting experienced technicians to apply the same type of "industrial-strength computing" disciplines they've acquired to distributed systems.

Meanwhile, demand for database management experts is growing simply because organizations are putting a heck of a lot more of their business [data] on these very large databases.

Security. There will always be demand for IT professionals with core security credentials, such as intrusion-detection capabilities and government security clearances, but database and wireless security projects will drive that demand even higher this year.

Thanks to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and IFRS, there has to be a way to control security on databases and networks to a level that we've never had to lock it down before.

 

Advice for prospective consultants -7 tips

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

Currently times are very good for consultants, Consulting is a diverse industry, I think as we move forward not all will benefit equally.

I've been a consultant of one form or another since 1994 when I started my own company, with a friend from university, I have been asked often about the consulting business, so I decided to write this up.  

Please note that I am providing observations from my own personal experiences.  

 

1-What does it take? The single biggest asset is how you provide value to your customer; the customer must understand your value proposition. Consultant’s biggest asset is their technical skills (Knowledge). Those skills are required, of course, and often help get you in, but the long-term customer relationships on which a consultant depends are built on one thing only. Your customer certainly has to believe you can do the job, your consulting practice is never more stable than when your customers trust you can take care of him.

 

2- I still have my first customer from 1994, plus several others since before 2000, I've been asked to do work and I was clearly not the best for that specific project, simply because my customer liked doing business with me and I always based all my projects on making sure the project results were a win-win with tangible facts and data. (Not a PowerPoint or a good speech)

 

3-One important skill for a consultant you must be a self starter, require very little supervision, and the ability to keep on task without a boss looking over your shoulder.

 

4-Consultants do not have job security -even good consultants — are often considered a necessary evil by customers who use them, and it's exceptionally easy to stop using one. It doesn't require firing or confrontation; just "we don't need you any more".This is not personal to you by your customer — it's just business.

The best way to approach job security this is to diversify — if you have only one ongoing project, you can find yourself out of work with no more notice than the time it takes the phone to ring.  Establish a network, write a blog, white paper ( I still get calls on a whitepaper I wrote in 1998). For a good consultant, your voice is comforting to the customer. Be very easy to find. My approach I have used my blog to connect with customers, Built a win-win with large corporations like Oracle to share knowledge, and you must establish the reflex that the customer knows you're going to be on the case, he can stop worrying and attend to what's in front of him. In my entire career, I have never dodged a page or screened a call even though I was tempted more than once.

 5-If you conduct yourself properly, you will accumulate a list of customers who will speak well about you: in many cases these will be your best source of new business, and in any case they have a name: your references. No matter how renowned you are for your technical skills, it is hard to overemphasize just how important your references are to a successful consulting practice.Think what you would ask if you were checking up on somebody you were about to hire: you'll ask about his skills, of course, but that's not all:

  • How was he to work with?
  • How much supervision did he require?
  • Did he show up when he said he would?
  • Did he deliver what he said he would?
  • How were his invoices?
  • Would you recommend him to others?

Your references are your reputation in the consulting world. If you're doing a good job taking care of your customers, they are usually more than happy to say good things about you to others.This doesn't always materialize, of course: from time to time there will be that relationship that simply doesn't work. A personality conflict, internal politics that you get caught up in, or a non-work life crisis can all conspire to create an engagement that you don't care to talk about. 

6- This is the single most common question that prospective consultants ask 'How much should I bill my client', and one of the hardest to answer. The short answer is a mix of "whatever the market will bear" and "how busy you wish to be".One point on rates , if you are booked solid for months or years that means your billing rate is too low  

7- I purposely put the technical part last, to reinforce the notion that "customer service", not only knowledge skills are the biggest factors in a successful consulting practice. But it's foolish to think that knowledge skills don't matter: you don't have a business unless you can offer a service that a customer is willing to buy. Though for employment, certifications (university degrees, market certifications, etc.) tend to matter a lot, they are much less important for consultants.

Your references and your experience are far more important than your certifications in consulting.

Setups that need to be done to get Approvals Management Access (AME) in R12.1

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Security and Administration

 

Here are the setups in point form that need to be done to get Approvals Management Access (AME) in R12.1.3

  

ü  Access User Management Responsibility.

 

ü  User Management has to be inherited through Role, as an Indirect Responsibility

 

ü  For this, assign “Security Administrator” Role to yourself.

 

ü  This Role grants inheritance of User Management Privileges to the user

 

ü  Assigning this through SysAdmin will not work

 

ü  In User Management, grant the Roles for “Approvals Management Administration” to the user.

 

ü  Also, grant Functional Administrator and Functional Developer roles

 

ü  These will grant indirect responsibilities to the user

 

ü  After this, Approvals Management Administrator Responsibility can be accessed.

 

ü  This will still not open up transaction types for viewing.

 

ü  For this, create the Grant to the User by following the steps below:

 

ü  Functional Administrator> Security>Grants>.Create Grant

  

ü  Do the below to ensure specifics are granted to User for accessing User Management Pages

 

sysadminumx

  

Once your AME setups are completed the below link is a good starter point in helping with testing. How to test AME set-ups [ID 1071051.1]

 

When designing a controls framework for Oracle EBS R12,consider the following controls activities

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Oracle Financial Applications

 

When designing a controls framework for an Oracle EBS R12 , consider the following controls activities:

- Oracle provides Edits/Validation controls throughout the modules to ensure the accuracy and completeness when entering transactions. For example with an AR invoice, critical fields are subject to edits and validation controls to validate the accuracy and completeness of invoice entries. Certain fields are required while entering or modifying invoice information (such as invoice number, price, and distributions) to validate that all the appropriate information is entered.

- Oracle also uses features such as List of Values, which present a list of data values that the user can select from versus free form typing in a field.

- Flexfield security can also be used to control where a user enters data. For instance, flexfield security can be enabled for users to only access certain GL accounts and therefore only transact to certain accounts. In addition, flexfield value security can be used in order to prevent a user from selecting incorrect data, thereby limiting what values a user can enter in flexfield pop–up windows and report parameters.

- Cross–validation rules control the combinations of values a user can create when entering values for key flexfields. This means a user can implement cross–validation rules to prevent the creation of flexfield combinations that should never exist. For example, if a company manufacturers both cars and computers, a user should never have the following combination in a flexfield: CPU Headlights.

- Security rules can also be assigned to responsibilities in order to restrict a user from entering data in a particular organization unit

- Oracle workflow is a common control mechanism that can be set up in modules to manage business processes according to rules that a user defines. Oracle workflow is most commonly used to route a user's transactions to the appropriate supervisor or manager prior to posting it in the system. Examples include:

- General Ledger for journal approvals

- Purchasing for purchase requisition or order approvals

- Expense for the approvals of employee's expenses

- Another common control mechanism in Oracle is restricting access by creating custom responsibilities that exclude either conflicting functions or removing sensitive access from a user,  such as when creating suppliers.

- Automatic Numbering or Document Sequencing can be used for invoice numbers, receipts, journals, customers, suppliers, and fixed assets, in order to account for completeness when transacting. In addition, Oracle, by default, does not allow duplicate invoice numbers, receipt numbers, journals, and customers to be processed.

· In addition to the overall controls points listed above, each individual module in Oracle contains a number of configurations (configurable controls) that can be set in order to provide a control. For example, in Accounts Payables, a configurable control is Price Tolerance. Setting a price tolerance to 5% will place an invoice on hold if the invoice price was 5% over the supplier’s purchase order price.

 

Operationalize your Companies IT strategy

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

 

Corporate strategic planning is the process of devising a plan of offensive and defensive actions intended to maintain and build competitive advantage over the competition. 

For strategy to be successfully implemented, it must be linked and aligned to all aspects of operations through a method that addresses risks, manages financial constraints and adheres to an ever increasingly complex maze of legal and regulatory requirements. 

Regardless of your organization’s size, industry or business model - strategic planning and well-executed implementation play critical roles in establishing and maintaining long-term growth and profitability.

Practical tips on ways to start operationalizing your IT strategy

IT_Strategy

 

 

3 Important rules,Project Managers should follow when planning and executing an enterprise project

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

1)      Know your integration points, the heartache of any Project Manager is system integration, if you are new to the project management space, don’t let the word integration confuse you. It simply means linking together the various software programs so that the subsystems can work together, to provide you more functionality than you can gain from any application by its own.

Don’t skip the architecture diagrams showing how various software package push and receive data flows throughout the organization, critical for you to understand.

 

2)      Project Management is problem management. Resources are overallocated, technologies and skill sets are incompatible, requirements are unclear and timelines unrealistic. I frequently work  with PMs who view those type of issues as inconveniences or problems caused by external forces that are interfering with their work. If only they had done this... if only they would give me more time..., needless to say, these folks spend most of their time frustrated and tense.

 

 

 

3)      Communication skills, Project managers need to build the reflex of mitigating breakdowns in communications between team members and provide constant effective communication.

This earlier blog I wrote in 2009 still applies: The top 5 most critical communication skills for a Project Manager are:

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=136&Itemid=9

 

 

 

Four ways to avoid competing on price

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Project Management, Blog

Who do you think is the low-price leader in retailing?

Once, the quick answer would have been Wal-Mart. But here's a cautionary tale of what can happen when you compete on price: A new study from retail consulting firm WSL/Strategic Retail shows 88 percent of customers no longer believe Walmart has the lowest prices.That's got to hurt, given how much time and money the retail giant has spent on pitching its "always low prices" slogan. It's also likely painful for Wal-Mart's vendors who've often strained to get their costs down to fit into Wal-Mart's super-low price narrative.

Where do customers think prices are cheaper? The Internet, as well as other discount retailers and grocery stores.

Given this changing perception, competing on price is even less attractive. So how can you avoid it? Here are four tips of my own:

1. Benchmark. Find out where you stand on pricing compared to other companies in your industry. Its possible competitors have raised prices while you’re stuck to the bottom.

2. Develop unique products. It's best to offer products and services that are unique to your company. The reason is, when competitors hold sales, you won't be similarly forced to cut prices because your offerings can't be price-compared. Be specific

3. Bundle your product with services. Take a look at how Jonathan Fields has